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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