Whatever the time of year an outing to Westonbirt, The National Arboretum, is a delight. We’d heard it was world famous, friends had raved about it, but we hadn’t realised it was just half an hour’s drive from Nightingale House.
Originally started in the mid-19th century by enthusiast Robert Holford, who helped finance worldwide expeditions to collect exotic specimens, Westonbirt has a marvelous array of mature trees and plants. It is set out in two sections: the Old Arboretum with its rare and exotic trees from around the world and Silk Wood which is the traditional working woodland and dates back to the 13th century. A must see in Silk Wood is the 2000 year old yew – it appears to be lots of yews in a copse together but tests have proved that they are all from the same origin: the coppicing has caused it to spread in this way. I loved the Acer Glade which was a mass of reds and oranges and browns on our visit in late September. We enjoyed the peace and serenity of it all and everyone we saw had a smile on their faces.
Admission charges in 2012 vary from £5 to £9 for adults (depending on dates and seasons) with reductions for children and seniors. The arboretum is open every day from 9am until 8pm in the summer and until 5pm in the winter. For more information visit the Westonbirt Arboretum website.
Getting there from Nightingale House:
Turn left onto the Spine Road at the bottom of Mill Lane. Drive through Oaksey, taking the right fork at the end of the village. Cross the A429 and continue to the A433. Turn left onto the A433 towards Tetbury. Drive through the town, (continuing on the A433) and Westonbirt Arboretum is 3 miles further on the right.