Tree-mendous fun for everyone Festival of the Tree at Westonbirt Arboretum, 24 –31 August 2009.

 Woodcarvers at work, trips into the treetops or some gentle retail therapy… this year Westonbirt Arboretum’s Festival of the Tree has something for everyone. From Monday 24 August, 12 talented sculptors will take up their chainsaws and chisels and carve out fabulous giant sculptures – all from tree trunks recycled from this much-loved Forestry Commission estate, and made ready for auction on Bank Holiday Monday in support of the charity Tree Aid.

Sculptor at work

Throughout the week, there’s also loads of family fun – from wand making and giant willow weaving to wildflower walks and the William Woodworm trail. New this year, Westonbirt’s very own ‘Laboratree’ tipi has everything from mini-beasts under the microscope to ‘Meet the scientist’ sessions and gardeners’ question times with our Plant Centre experts. Come inside and find out why trees are so important for the future.

Sustainability is at the heart of Westonbirt’s woodland management, and during the week visitors can watch the Arboretum’s talented tree team at work, have a go at green woodworking or help weave a giant willow structure. There are also ‘Wood Works’ guided walks into the wilds of Silk Wood, taking in the new-raised medieval-style craft barn along with hurdle and charcoal making.

Woodworking Fest of the Tree Rob Cousins

Then over the long Bank Holiday weekend – from Friday 28 – Monday 31 August, the festival is buzzing as the tented woodcraft exhibition gets up and running with over 150 craftsmen and women demonstrating and selling their wares. Top woodworking stars such as Canadian Rob Cosman will give free masterclasses through each day, and in the new open-air arena there are loads of demonstrations, from chair-making to Morris dancing.

There’s so much to see and do, it’s well worth planning ahead. For the full programme of events, go to www.forestry.gov.uk/westonbirt

Westonbirt is open all year round. The Festival of the Tree is open from 9am-5pm. During the festival, admission to the whole arboretum is £8 for adults, £7 concessions, £3 for children (18yrs and under). Discounted tickets for return visits to the festival will also be available  – £20 adults, £16 concs.

Westonbirt Arboretum is three miles south west of Tetbury on the A433 (Tetbury to Bath Road). It is 10 miles north east of Junction 18 of the M4, and south-east of junction 13 of the M5.

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