A year in the woods – Westonbirt Arboretum

This time last year we became members of Westonbirt Arboretum We visited for the first since we were children last November and were blown away by the place, we joined as members at the end of our visit. I wrote about our visit afterwards here We have visited at least every month since and I’ve felt inspired to write a number of blogs previously detailing our experiences.

The power of a factory reset

Colour in the trees when my mood is grey

The power of a factory reset

One of the photos I took on our first visit has been displayed in two hospital photography exhibitions and I was lucky enough to win some art supplies in a photography competition. In February my partner proposed to me in a quiet sunny, peaceful spot which will forever feel like our special place.

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Each time we visit we walk different paths and on each visit we are surprised by something new. On our most visit our eyes were filled with fungi galore. The weather was initially grey and our eyes were drawn towards different berries and shapes, but as the sun came out it started to highlight the late autumnal colours and dew drops on the leaves, the different weather changing the palate before our eyes. I don’t even feel like I’ve scratched the surface of this wonderful place, I could probably spend a happy afternoon with my camera in just a tiny section studying the detail of things.

As my health hasn’t been great I’ve really appreciated how accessible Westonbirt is to many. The flat gravelled paths easy to stroll along when you aren’t feeling great, but wilder paths away from it all when feeling more able. The regular number of benches dotted around everywhere are nice places to pause and sit and essential when legs are tired. I love the bird hide, an opportunity to sit somewhere out the wind and to study close up all the variety of our birds, from the woodpecker to the nuthatch to the more unusual siskin, there is always something to see. For less able visitors they also run a land train to the cafe and hire out mobility scooters.

The arboretum is labelled throughout and even the most remote trees are marked, it’s really interesting to start to learn about all the different types of tree and we have started to identify our favourites, although this can change as we suddenly discover something spectacular that we haven’t seen before! Even on busy peak autumnal days it’s easy to get away from the crowds and on our last visit we arrived for the opening time and felt like we’d won the lottery when we pretty much had the place to ourselves, it had a serene silence to it.

Despite having periods of severe depression this year I’ve always found the arboretum helpful in boosting my mood. You cannot help but be taken in by the beauty, even if it’s only a brief respite from what is going on, the escape feels essential. It’s hard to believe a year has passed since we joined as members, but I look forward to helpful many more to come as we peel back yet more layers of this wonderful place.

I’ll end this blog with some photos of our visit this weekend.

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