Funding towards a new car park, away from the environmentally sensitive Grade I registered downland
Posted: 9th October 2010
Westonbirt Arboretum, Westonbirt, Tetbury, Gloucestershire, GL8 8QS
Westonbirt, The National Arboretum, is a site of incredible beauty and enormous environmental significance and is enjoyed by hundreds of thousands of people each year. The Downs Restoration project aims to simultaneously improve the way visitors learn about and enjoy the landscape whilst restoring two important biodiversity action plan (BAP) habitats.
The Gloucestershire Environmental Trust grant helped Westonbirt Arboretum to achieve its fundraising target which enabled it to work on this exciting project at the beginning of 2013.
In the first instance a new car park has been built, away from the environmentally sensitive Grade I registered downland, which will be completed in July 2014.
The topsoil removed from the new car park has been used to create a seed bank, which is so much more than a pile of earth. The soil, rich with wildflower seeds, will be used to restore the existing car park to wildflower rich grassland.
It is also a great opportunity for the arboretum to tell visitors about some of the special wildflowers that grow there - it's not just about trees. A recent plant, bee and butterfly species survey of the Downs recorded 237 species of wildflower and grass. Unsurprisingly, the existing car park supported very few of these species, which will change when it is restored to grassland.