For some of our teens 2018/2019 is an important school year – exam year. Exams may be a few months off, but the pressure is already being felt. Our way of helping our tribe to recharge and take a break from revision is by being together and getting out and about and thankfully Westonbirt is somewhere where we find tranquillity, peace and quiet.
Westonbirt Arboretum is located 22 miles north of the City of Bath and is a place of beauty. It is the perfect destination for us to walk, chat and marvel at the amazing colours of the autumn trees that that truly are Nature’s fireworks.
There are two main, large and accessible paths that you can take – either the Old Arboretum or Silk Wood. We brought along our four legged members of the tribe so we all opted to walk the Silk Wood trail. One pathway that accesses the Silk Wood trail is the treetop walkway; a 300 metre walkway that sits at a height of 13 metres and allows you to be up in the canopy of the trees and take in the spectacular views. Unless you have a fear of heights, this is a great way to see the arboretum from a very different perspective.
You are spoilt for choice with 15,000 trees and 2,500 different varieties that show off a vast array of colours. The Acers and Maples will wow you with their vibrant red, russet and yellow leaves as they stand amidst a stunning backdrop. At this time of year the colours are constantly changing and to keep up to date with these changes Westonbirt have a weekly updated telephone hotline which lets you know where the most dazzling colours can be found.
As well as the trees, there are other plants and fungi that you can look out for. Information posts are dotted around the walk and give you facts about the some of the many thousands of plants and trees that you see. We opted to do our own thing and take our visit at our pace but if you wish, Westonbirt have lots of guided walks and activities that you can take part in. At the time of writing, there are guided walks that take place and show you the seasonal highlights of this wonderful place.
If you wish to learn new skills, Westonbirt has a programme of workshops that run at different times throughout the year. They are at an additional charge and include classes such as beginners, advanced and mindfulness photography and wood working. There are seasonal activities throughout the year so it is well worth checking with their website to see what’s on at Westonbirt.
After a long walk we were in need of a hot drink and a snack. We made our way towards the Great Oak Hall where we found a variety of food outlets and a restaurant. On the way to the restaurant there were several food vans serving fast food and drinks but we opted to make our way to the main restaurant where we filled up on delicious waffles and hot chocolate and bought a dog biscuit for our furry friends.
This time of year is one of the busiest for Westonbirt, but, despite this we still managed to walk a large part of the trail without any noise or interruptions from other visitors. We left feeling relaxed, calm and the fresh air and exercise ensured that we slept well that night. It was just what we needed and certainly what our teen needed!