Tortworth Trees

by Rebecca Cork in Tortworth, England, United Kingdom

Tortworth Trees
We did it
On 13th November 2021 we successfully raised £3,000 with 40 supporters in 28 days

Community trees at Tortworth - help our volunteers look after our ancient and exotic trees for everyone to enjoy

by Rebecca Cork in Tortworth, England, United Kingdom

Hello. We are Tortworth Forest Centre.

We work with a passionate group of volunteers who are restoring and maintaining a historic tree collection at Tortworth Arboretum so that people from all walks of life can come and enjoy the trees.

We look after over 600 trees including some very special champion and exotic species on a 20-acre site, and that's an amazing privilege but we need your help!

Most of the trees were planted from the 1850's onwards by the Lords of the Tortworth Estate, although some of them could even be over 450 years old. Sadly though, different owners and history meant that the site wasn't well cared for in the 20th century and the trees were at risk of being overcome with bamboo, rhododendron, bramble and laurel.

We started restoring it in 2014 and ever since we have been working hard to open up the site, map the trees, learn as much as we can about them and, of course, share it with as many people as possible. 

We are especially keen to welcome in people who might not usually have access to the benefits of the natural world for health and wellbeing, and that is why we run projects for people to use the woods to work on their mental, physical and emotional health - from children with special educational needs, to adults in mental health recovery, women in recovery from addiction and people in rurally isolated communities. 


The space is a fantastic safe place for people looking for some peace and quiet, to get away from the city, to learn about trees and plants. We regularly hold open days and visitor days, we host wellbeing groups and forest schools, scouts, local families and people who want to come and nerd out about trees. Oh, and our resident goats, of course!

As an outdoor space, we've been doing what we can to provide a safe space for exercise during the pandemic but of course, it's been much harder than usual, and fundraising has been tough too. Could you help us?

** Rewards **

Two beautiful hand-turned wooden goblets made from our own redwood trees by local woodturner Johannes Roux.


Two beautiful hand-turned wooden bowls by local woodturner Johannes Roux.

Bowl 1: height 100mm, diameter 145mm, 227g 


Bowl 2: height 30mm, diameter 192mm, 229g 


T-shirts and hoodies in standard and slim fit

We will be in touch when the crowdfunder ends to find out your size preference. We have chosen the most ethical clothing supplier we can find to ensure a living wage and sustainable practices in the manufacturing process. 


For more information about any of our rewards email [email protected]

** What we need money for **

To support our volunteers

Many of our volunteers are on low incomes and we support them with various things like a minibus to site and plenty of hot drinks while they're working. Without this support, many of them wouldn't be able to help us or to enjoy the many benefits of working in the fresh air of the woodland, but of course, it all costs money.

Labels for our trees

1629210441_img_20210721_135237.jpgWe have come so far since we took on the lease in 2014, any of our long-term volunteers will attest to the complete impossibility of getting around the woods, let alone seeing the wood for the trees! We have chipped away at the bramble, bamboo, rhododendron, bracken, you name it... if it grows profusely unchecked, we have been battling it since 2014. And now we have finished our mapping project and listed each and every tree - from those that are safely identified to those where the species ID isn't 100%, we have a list and we know what we know and we know what we need to find out.

Our next step is to get the trees labeled for the enjoyment of our visitors young and old. 

Our knowledgeable Tree Officer Jake is working hard to choose our first batch of 50 trees to be labeled, writing up their planting dates and species details where we have them, ready to be printed for us. But we have over 600 trees, and we need more than 50 of them to be accessible to our visitors.


New planting

We don't just look after the trees, we plant them too.  

We are proud and excited, and very grateful too, that Simon Toomer (National Specialist for Plant Conservation at the National Trust, previously Curator and Director at Westonbirt, The National Arboretum) helped us create our new Planting Policy. 

1629209198_copy_of_img_20201017_132353.jpgWe work hard to make sure we prioritise the connections and relationships that our visitors and our community have with trees - our focus is on encouraging a relationship with nature, and we believe that our new planting policy will help us to choose species that will engage and inspire wonder.

So we really need the funds to buy new trees that fit in with our policy, as well as the guards and mesh that will keep those pesky deer and goats away from them while they establish.

Woodland goats

Goats in the woods? Baa-bsolutely! Our beautiful 'therapy goats' live in a cosy, secure home in the woodland and bring enormous joy to visitors and volunteers. When we are there, we also let them roam to graze the bramble and bamboo, which is very helpful in keeping those under control. 

But they can't live on weeds alone, they need other food, bedding and (sometimes) medical care to keep them in tip-top health. Can you believe that just their hay costs us about £40 a month?! It's a small price to pay for the happiness they bring, but it's still money that we have to find.


Tea and toilets!

With the arboretum becoming more popular, and more people visiting, we need to have a think about some of our basic amenities. With no water on-site, we need to think creatively about how we offer toilets and handwash, as well as tea and coffee. We are constantly improving the roundhouse too, and have plans for a little outdoor kitchen to add to our washing-up area. Funds would help us to buy the snazzy bits we need for a new ground-level composting toilet system, water containers for drinkable water, and kit for making tea and coffee in a Covid-safe way.



What would we do without our Tree Officer, our Maintenance Officer, or our Community Engagement Officer - we just couldn't hold any volunteer days, any open days, any events. We would not be able to look after the trees and the arboretum would quickly return to the overgrown chaos that we found back in 2014. Why not meet our team on our website here.



Our Vision

We really want to be able to continue working with our volunteers and our wellbeing groups, making the most of this one-of-a-kind space to reach as many people as we can. We have a real community growing up around us, people with so much knowledge, passion, dedication, and we just need some support making sure that we can carry on working with as wide a range of people as possible. 

We know that natural spaces are good for our mental and physical health, our wellbeing, our resilience, and our confidence. Just ask any of our volunteers. Help us keep this space open to the community and keep the outdoors a safe nurturing space for everyone.


This project offers rewards in return for your donation.

£42 or more

Tortworth Forest Centre branded Hoodie

Our very own range of snazzy branded gear! Grab yourself one of our ethically made, locally printed hoodies in your size.

£15 or more

0 of 10 claimed

Logo keyring

As a thank you for your donation we will send you a lazer cut key ring made by one of our regular volunteers. Be a part of the community with your own logo keyring! These will be for collection from the arboretum on any of our open days or volunteer days.

£20 or more

3 of 5 claimed

Signed copy of John Rhyder's book "Woodcraft"

the incredible John Rhyder, of Woodcraft School has donated five signed copies of his popular book, Woodcraft “A practical celebration of the tree”. We love this book and use it on our courses - and we are thrilled to have signed copies as rewards now on our crowdfunder!

£28 or more

Tortworth Forest Centre branded T shirt

Locally and ethically sourced, printed in Bristol, look the part in our branded T shirts and help us to spread the word about what we do.

£30 or more

10 of 50 claimed

Label a tree in our collection!

Help us label the trees in our collection so that for years to come visitors can learn about the species in the arboretum. £30 will pay for a unique tree label to be printed, and you will receive an invitation for you plus a friend to attend a guided walk with our Tree Officer, and the chance to fix a label onto a tree. Light refreshments will be provided on the day. These special guided walks will take place on Saturday 2nd April 2022.

£32 or more

1 of 2 claimed

Beautiful hand-turned wooden goblet

Beautiful hand-turned wooden goblet made from our own redwood trees. Made for us by local woodturner and supporter Johannes Roux, exclusively for our crowdfunder.

£550 or more

1 of 2 claimed

Sponsor a Tree

A unique opportunity to sponsor a tree and dedicate it to your loved one. We will discuss your choice of tree and recommend a location for it, select a wooden plaque to display by the tree, and maintain it with fencing and weeding for 5 years. We are creating a Sponsor a Tree section on our website and you can choose to be listed as one of our tree sponsors for all to see.

£750 or more

0 of 2 claimed

Woodland Memorial Bench

Remember a loved one (or mark a significant event or anniversary) in the most special way, with a hardwood memorial bench in the arboretum. £750 will pay for the installation and maintenance for 5 years of a hardwood memorial bench with a personalised brass plaque. You will be able to choose a location for the bench from a list of options provided by our grounds team. For more details including terms and conditions email us.

£32 or more

2 of 2 claimed

Beautiful hand-turned wooden bowl

Made for us by local woodturner and supporter Johannes Roux, exclusively for our crowdfunder.

£220 or more

3 of 3 claimed

Exclusive camping - a night in the woods

Join up to 7 of your friends, camping in the woods with exclusive use of the arboretum all night! Use the campfire to cook up your dinner, shelter in the roundhouse as the sun goes down over the oak trees and you hear the call of the owls and the muntjac. Terms and conditions apply - no amplified music, selected dates only

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