The National Arboretum,
0300 067 4890
Westonbirt National Arboretum is just down the road from some old friends of ours .. I mean dating back to University days (which was a loonnngg time ago now).. so friends for a while! Paul and Elaine had invited us to visit them and the four of us along with Elaine’s dad Alan had an afternoon out there at Westonbirt National Arboretum taking the Access-Out-There cameras with us. Alan provided more wheels, as company for Titania, for us to navigate round the paths.
This was back in 2016 and it has taken the Access-Out-There team a while to write about it, so some of what you see us tackle on our journey around a small part of the walks may well have changed when you go.
The Arboretum which is about 3 miles from Tetbury on the A433 covers around 600 acres with around 18000 trees (who counted them?) of some 2500 different species. Now I am a bit of a tree hugger, but that’s a lot of trees to hug even for me! There is a large tarmac surfaced car park with a lot (about 20?) of blue badge parking spaces. A path takes you down from the car park to the ticket office and entry gates.
One of the reasons we went out there to Westonbirt National Arboretum was to try out the Tree Top Walkway, which was pretty new when we went. We headed straight to it from the entrance. The path surface remained tarmac with a gentle incline rising up to the walkway and as such, was surprisingly accessible for Titania and Alan’s wheels. There was a sort of “crows-nest” platform, inaccessible for the wheeled ones as it was up steps which we sent Di up to check out.
The main path guided us up into the tree tops so that we were able to look out across the canopy of the woodland around. It has been a long time since any of us even contemplated climbing trees so this was an unaccustomed view which we paused to take in and enjoy.
The paths then gently brought us back to ground level from where we went out to explore a small part of the woodland acreage. It was a beautiful August day, the paths varied from tarmac, to hard tracks but with no recent rain it wasn’t muddy when we visited. I’m sure on a different day at a different time of year you could have a very different mud related experience!
Occasionally our route took us off-piste a little. Crossing rough grass to connect from one path to another tested Paul’s muscle! Some of the paths were covered with a layer of wood bark, and, where this had been done recently Titania and Alan struggled sinking a couple of inches into the paths. But, no, we did not let that stop us!
What were the best bits? Well we liked the space. There were a number of people there on our nice sunny summer’s day, but it didn’t feel busy. The trees were magnificent and I particularly loved the collection of acers which were stunning in their summery colours.
The website for Westonbirt National Aboretum has a good page detailing the accessibility of the site if you are planning to go out there. There are accessible loos, and you can book wheelchairs and mobility scoters to help you get around if you need to. There is even shuttle which can help transport you around which runs in the summer months. So it was thanks to Paul, Elaine and Alan for giving us a great day out there.
Of course, as we have written this whilst we are all staying at home because of the coronavirus, you’ll have to wait until things are back to normal and the arboretum is open again before you can get out there and test out the paths, hug a few trees and find out what has changed since 2016.
Don’t forget we at Access-Out-There are always happy to hear any thoughts you may have to help us improve our writings. Please do get in touch to tell us. Is there somewhere you particularly enjoy Out there which you would like us to visit and write about? Please feel free to contact us either by using the Contact us page or just drop an email at firstname.lastname@example.org .
Richard & Di
6 April 2020