I made a brief trip to Westonbirt a few weeks ago and as you might expect, the Rhododendrons were magnificent. However, on this trip I was particularly interested to look at the structure of the arboretum, rather than individuals- in particular, I was interested to note the narrow width of the avenues (typically 12-15m) and the level topography. In a landscape that is laid out at such a large scale with the object of celebrating trees, a level topography is something of a curse because you are always looking up at the trees and rarely get a chance to see the perspective view or landscape panorama. To deal with this, it seems that the circulation is very guided with relatively few opportunities to explore off the beaten track: views are very carefully managed with the emphasis on the Picturesque landscape design techniques of curving walks creating suspense intersecting with the grand reveal along huge avenues.
I was also intrigued by the sight of these enormous, 20m long Corsican Pine timbers being laid out in a construction yard. It turns out that this is the work of Invisible Studio for a new Tree Management Centre. I can’t wait to see this grow over the coming months: you can see more details here or if you like playing with 130 tonne cranes, get involved with the volunteering scheme.