The new Welcome Building at the National Arboretum in Westonbirt was opened by The Duchess of Cornwall, Patron of the Friends of Westonbirt Arboretummarking the first phase of an exciting redevelopment of the site.
Nestled in the Cotswolds, this major redevelopment includes improved visitor facilities as well as a new interpretation centre where visitors will learn more about the arboretum’s history, and the science behind caring for the world-class collection of trees and their landscape. The Duchess of Cornwall propagated a (Stewartiasinensis) treesapling that officially marks the opening of the new facilities.
The new Welcome Building provides a ‘launch pad’ for visitors arriving at the arboretum. From there, they can now choose to follow the picturesque routes carefully laid out by the arboretum’s Victorian creator Robert Holford in the mid-19th Century.
Putting visitor experience at the top of the agenda, the Forestry Commission and Friends of Westonbirt Arboretum have made this investment to provide visitor facilities worthy of this world-class scientific and heritage site.
The £4.3m Westonbirt Project, which also includes restoring the Grade 1 registered downland and activities plans, has been funded by the Friends of Westonbirt Arboretum, the Forestry Commission, a £1.9m grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund, a £500,000 Biffa Award and gifts from foundations, trusts and generous individual givers.
Westonbirt attracts over 350,000 visits per year and is known worldwide for its spectacular autumn colour and the spring rhododendron, azalea and magnolia displays. The arboretum is popular for groups, individuals and educational visits.
Gibbs Surfacing was pleased to be awarded this prestigious project and work with the Forestry Commission England. Apart from the standard binder (AC20) a SMA10 Surface Industrial 40/60 Limestone was used.