Follow the Sylva trail at Westonbirt this Summer

posted on July 18, 2014
The public enjoying the Sylva trail at Westonbirt National Arboretum

The public enjoying the Sylva Trail at Westonbirt National Arboretum

The Sylva Trail – celebrating the 350th anniversary of John Evelyn’s Sylva and Britain’s wood culture – continues to draw visitors at the Forestry Commission’s National Arboretum at Westonbirt. Extracts from the book, together with illustrations by Sarah Simblet from The New Sylva, feature in twenty panels placed around the arboretum

The trail is open until the end of August, when Sylva Foundation staff are looking forward to taking part in Treefest at the arboretum: 29th-31st August 2014.

Over the Summer kids are encouraged to roam among trees and nature, with five weeks of free activities and crafts, plus admission is free for children from 23 July – 31 August 2014. With 600 acres to explore, a line-up of fantastic summer events, free activity sheets and quizzes and 10 natural play areas to enjoy, there is no better way to spend a Summer’s day.

From 29th to 31st July a special event – Drawn to nature – aims to encourage families to be inspired by trees to create their own masterpieces. There will be a range of activities to try including nature printing, water colour and wood block printing onto fabric. Perhaps someone will be inspired to become the artist for the next edition of Sylva in another generation’s time!

More information

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Sylva of success

posted on June 13, 2014
Westonbirt - Magazine of the National Arboretum - Summer2014

Westonbirt – Magazine of the National Arboretum – Summer 2014

Sylva CEO, and author of The New Sylva, Gabriel Hemery has been interviewed for the Westonbirt Magazine.The article coincides with the opening of the Sylva trail at Westonbirt this summer, consisting of 20 boards distributed around Silk Wood and the Old Arboretum. Each board features a drawing made by Sarah Simblet for The New Sylva, plus extracts of text. Read more

We are grateful for permission to reproduce the article here, as published in the Westonbirt Magazine, produced by the Friends of Westonbirt Arboretum. For information see

Sylva of success - read the full article in the Westonbirt Magazine - download a pdf

Sylva of success – read the full article in the Westonbirt Magazine – click to download a pdf


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Take to the trees on the Sylva Trail

posted on June 3, 2014

This summer, the Forestry Commission’s National Arboretum at Westonbirt in Gloucestershire will be home to an outdoor exhibition marking the publication of an extraordinary new book celebrating trees and woodland culture.

From 1 June to 31 August 2014, the Sylva Trail at Westonbirt will showcase a total of 20 beautiful botanical illustrations and accompanying text from The New Sylva, which was published this year to coincide with the 350th anniversary of John Evelyn’s original Sylva book – the first comprehensive study of British trees and the first book ever published by the Royal Society.

The book is a detailed celebration of British trees and woodland, written by Gabriel Hemery and Sarah Simblet. Gabriel is a forest scientist and is chief executive of the Sylva Foundation. Sarah is a botanical artist of international renown who teaches at the Ruskin School of Art at the University of Oxford.

Staff from Westonbirt Arboretum helped Sarah Simblet source sample material which was used for studies of some of the trees illustrated in the book and have worked with the Sylva Foundation to create the trail.

Ben Oliver, learning and participation manager at Westonbirt Arboretum said:

“We are delighted that Westonbirt will be home to the Sylva Trail this summer. As the National Arboretum, it seems fitting that we should play host to this beautiful outdoor exhibition.”

“The book and the trail are a real celebration of trees and both aim to engage readers and visitors with trees in a new way; something which we are always keen to do here.”

Dr. Gabriel Hemery said:

“Westonbirt Arboretum and its staff played a key role in the production of the book. The Sylva Trail at the arboretum is a fitting tribute to the enduring legacy of John Evelyn, and the perfect venue to celebrate our relationship with trees and forests.”

“The Sylva Foundation has supported the creation of the book and the exhibitions during 2014, as part of its work to revive a wood culture in Britain.”

Further information

The Sylva Trail runs at Westonbirt Arboretum from 1 June to 31 August 2014. Admissions costs £8 for adults and £7 for concessions. Admission for children is £3 until 23 July when free admission for under 18’s begins and runs until 31 August. The arboretum will be open from 9am to 5pm each day.

The New Sylva – author’s blog

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