Westonbirt Arboretum
Westonbirt Arboretum is an arboretum near Tetbury in Gloucestershire, England, perhaps the most important and widely known arboretum in the United Kingdom. Planted in the heyday of Victorian plant hunting in the mid-nineteenth century, today Westonbirt is one of the finest tree collections in the world, carefully laid out within a beautiful Grade One listed historic landscape.

The Arboretum
The arboretum is managed by the Forestry Commission, which also manages Bedgebury Pinetum. It was established in 1829 by Robert Stayner Holford who inherited the property ten years later, and was later extended by his son George Lindsay Holford. It is close to the Holford family's mansion Westonbirt House, which is now a girls' boarding school, though it does not form the garden of the building, which is on the other side of a public road. After the death of George in 1926 ownership passed to his nephew the fourth Earl of Morley, and eventually to the Forestry Commission in 1956. Westonbirt backs onto the Highgrove estate of HRH the Prince of Wales. Westonbirt Arboretum comprises some 18,000 trees and shrubs, over an area of approximately 600 acres (2.4 km²). Its 17 miles (27 km) of marked paths are popular with visitors, and provide access to a wide variety of rare plants. There are two main areas to explore. The Old Arboretum is a carefully designed landscape offering beautiful vistas, stately avenues, and a host of rare and exotic tress from across the globe dating back to the 1850s. Silk Wood is a very different experience. Although it also contains many exotic plantings, at its heart is a traditional working woodland, dating back to the thirteenth century. Throughout the arboretum, each specimen tree is labeled, either on the trunk or one of the low-hanging branches. Blue labels indicate Westonbirt's `champion trees', the tallest or largest of their kind in Britain. Currently (2011) there are 82 champions.

Westonbirt Arboretum is situated in Gloucestershire on the A433 approximately 3 miles south west of Tetbury, at Ordnance Survey mapping six-figure grid reference ST 848898. Opening times are 9am - 5pm, all year. From the M4 (approx 20 mins): exit the motorway at Junction 18. Take the A46 north towards Stroud. After a few miles turn right onto the A433 (signed Cirencester). Continue on this road for approx 3 miles and the Arboretum is on your left. From M5 (approx 20 mins): exit the motorway at Junction 13 onto the A419 (towards Stroud). Take the A46 (towards Bath). After going though Nailsworth, come to traffic lights at cross roads. Turn left onto A4135 to Tetbury. In Tetbury, turn right on the A433. Continue on this road, passing through Doughton, for approx 3 miles. The Arboretum is on your right.

From 2003-2005 the Arboretum hosted Britain's first designer led garden festival: Westonbirt Festival of the Garden. In 2011, Westonbirt will host the Festival of the Tree.

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