Sunday, 28 December 2014 12:00

Westonbirt tree base built ancient way Featured

Written by Gazette & Herald - Malmesbury
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An artist’s impression of their new base

First published in Malmesbury[1] by Barry Leighton[2]

ancient woodcraft techniques not deployed for 300 years are being used to create a £600,000 visitor and management centre at Westonbirt Arboretum.

The Wolfson Tree Manage-ment Centre has been described as one of the most important developments in the arboretum’s history.

The facility will provide “all that Westonbirt’s expert tree team needs to manage the nationally important tree collection,” while enhancing the visitor experience.

It will improve the way the Forestry Commission looks after the globally recognised collection and explain to visitors how its trees are cared for in a changing climate.

The Forestry Commission says the project will make a big difference to anyone who comes to the arboretum, with a better welcome, visit and understanding of its heritage and importance.

The first part of the complex will be made of wood primarily sourced from the arboretum via routine tree maintenance.

Pine planks 20m long have been milled and hand-hewn by a team of 12 carpenters to make square beams for the roof trusses and frame.

It is believed wood of this length has not been used in the craft of hewing for more than three centuries.

The structure will include secure storage for machinery and tools, a yard four times the current size, an eco-friendly vehicle wash area and a warm indoor space for the tree team. There will also be an area for visitors to learn about arboriculture.

Forestry Commission director for Westonbirt Simon Toomer said: “It’s great to have the opportunity to share what our expert team do and give visitors the chance to learn more about the challenges involved in managing a tree collection of this size and age.”


  1. ^Malmesbury (
  2. ^Barry Leighton (

Authors: Gazette & Herald - Malmesbury

Read full artice on: Wilts & Glos Standard

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