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UK: Westonbirt Arboretum is awarded over £350,000 for replanting after Chalara felling

Westonbirt, The National Arboretum, in partnership with the charity The Friends of Westonbirt Arboretum, is delighted to announce that they have so far raised nearly half of the £750,000 target towards the ‘Silk Wood Community Planting Project,’ to restore an area of woodland within the arboretum.

Included in the funding is a £249,359 grant from The National Lottery Heritage Fund, made possible by money raised by National Lottery players, along with £50,000 funding from Garfield Weston Foundation, £50,000 from the Friends of Westonbirt Arboretum, £5,600 from MillerKnoll, £3,000 from D’Oyly Carte Charitable Trust.

This project will help overcome the impact of tree felling in 2020 due to Chalara ash dieback through this exemplary regeneration and replanting of approximately 9,000 trees within the Silk Wood area of the arboretum.

A key aspect of this work is that the local community will be actively involved over the next three years. Instead of working with local contractors on the replanting, Westonbirt has chosen to use this project as a way to engage hundreds of local people. The project will target young people, people from disadvantaged backgrounds, those with neurodiverse conditions, and people of a broad range of ethnicities to be part of this journey. They will be invited to participate alongside Westonbirt’s team in the design, selection of trees, ground clearing and preparation, tree planting, and future care of this beautiful woodland.

Commenting on the grants received, Oscar Adams, Project Manager at Westonbirt, whose role has been funded by the Friends of Westonbirt Arboretum, said:

“We are thrilled to have received this support for our Silk Wood Community Planting Project and thank all the funders for their support. Having secured this money, we can now recruit project staff and plan our start on the restoration of Silk Wood. We are so excited to be making this a community project and are looking forward to working with volunteers, local community groups, and schools to design, plant, and restore this beautiful woodland for future generations.”

Stuart McLeod, Director of England - London & South at The National Lottery Heritage Fund, said:

“It’s fantastic that we’ve been able to support this important project thanks to National Lottery players. It will not only restore lost habitats but also engage new audiences in the outdoors and the work at Westonbirt. We’re incredibly proud to be playing a role in ensuring our natural heritage is safeguarded for generations to come, but also that the projects we fund give people a chance to connect with nature and wildlife on their doorsteps – this project is a great example of this.”

Projects like this are a great example of the work Westonbirt is doing to deliver their 10-year vision by connecting more people with trees to improve the quality of life through education, conservation, and participation. This exciting project is still in its consultation and fundraising stage, as more funding is needed to complete this three-year project. The first phase of tree planting is due to begin this autumn and winter.

The team looks forward to sharing more news about this project as it evolves, explaining how you can support this regeneration project that is empowering local communities at Westonbirt Arboretum.

For more information:
Forestry England

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