Wonderful Acers at Westonbirt.

I was so worried that we had missed the wonderful show of colour at Westonbirt Arboretum in Gloucestershire, but yesterday we went and the colours were absolutely amazing. Lots of leaves had fallen but there were still plenty left for us to enjoy. Last year we went to the original Old Arboretum which dates from 1850s, so this time we decided to walk round part of Silk Wood which is still a working woodland with newish exotic planting among the towering ancient trees. It wasn’t long before I spied a beautiful splash of colour from one of the many Acers which we had come to see.



I love the branches being so dark and contrasting so well with the leaves. I just have to dive underneath, the leaves look quite different from this view.

Acer with evergreens

All the evergreens that are planted here show up the autumn tints beautifully.

Not an acer

Not an Acer but I couldn’t find a label unfortunately, lovely leaves though!

Acer leaves

Very pretty.


The colours just got better and better the further we walked.

Red Acer

I’ll leave this one to speak for itself!

inside red acer

The view from underneath the canopy.

underneath red acer

and again.

Trunks as sculpture

There were quite a few trunks and branches that were almost natural sculptures, super contrast.

Original trees

The original trees are really huge, dwarfing the newer planting.


A bright spot among the dark evergreens.

Acer leaves

The Acer leaves are all beautiful and when they have fallen to the ground all the children there love to find one of every colour.

Red Acer

No matter which way we looked, there was always something beautiful to photograph. I’ve taken pity on you and only showing half !!


Crossroads, which way to go now, decisions to be made but don’t want to miss anything! We decided to go straight on after consulting the map so that we could see the Rotary glade and the National Japanese Maple collection.

Start of National collection.

This is the start of the National Collection, but we decided to turn left into Maple Loop to see as much colour as possible.


At the start of the path was an ancient planting of Larch Pines, they are huge and looking wonderful in their autumn colour.


We soon came across some more Acers, this yellow one in front looks like some form of dissectum.

Disectum Acer leaf

Very dissectum!

Rotary glade

We have now reached the start of Rotary glade, the planting financed by the Rotary Club of Great Britain. The Acers look so tiny compared to the Larch around them.

Rotary glade

They will be small as they were planted only 7 yrs ago, another 20 or 30 yrs and this area will look fantastic.

National collection

Back to the National Collection of hybrids, colour everywhere we looked.

National collection

So many lovely trees everywhere.


My old friend Acer palmatum Osakazuki, I would recognise it anywhere. This one is quite a lot larger than mine in the garden here, but shows me how much it could grow.

Osakazuki leaves

Couldn’t resist looking through the Osakazuki leaves – beautiful!

Almost back

Starting to make our way back to the entrance, but lovely coloured trees everywhere still.

Back to the beginning

Last tree to be photographed, what a wonderful walk we had, well worth the journey to go and see all the fantastic colours.

We really enjoyed our day out, we had lunch before reaching Westonbirt with all its wonderful Acers and then later called in to see our daughter and family in Bristol for tea before finally coming home to Devon, rather tired but very, very happy!


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22 Responses to Wonderful Acers at Westonbirt.

  1. Absolutely stunning thank you for sharing Westonbirt. I have not been able to visit this year.

    • Pauline says:

      There’s still time Ronnie, plenty of leaves left for you! Westonbirt is always so reliable for autumn tints, must try and visit in the spring when all the cherries and rhodos are flowering.

  2. Cathy says:

    A perfect time for visiting Westonbirt and all your photos made for a delightful post – thank you for sharing your visit with us. We are reminded just how astounding the available range of acers is when you see a collection like this – I would be hard pressed to choose a favourite. That disectum is just SO disected, isn’t it?

    • Pauline says:

      Westonbirt is a wonderful place to visit Cathy, I love it! Must start visiting at different times of year though, to see it in all the seasons.

  3. Jason says:

    I love maples in fall – especially the bright reds and oranges.

    • Pauline says:

      You would be very happy here then Jason, so many lovely colours everywhere we looked. No matter which way we turned, there were more and more for us to go and admire!

  4. You captured some outstanding colour on the Acer at the arboretum. There is such variety in the tree forms and leaf shapes. Westonbirt looks like a wonderful place to get some ideas on trees for your garden. Then you just have to be patient as they grow.

    • Pauline says:

      The trees were stunning NS, the colours so unreal! Westonbirt is such a wonderful place to visit at any time of year, but this is when they are busiest!

  5. debsgarden says:

    Fantastic! Acers are among my most favorite of all trees. You did a great job photographing the wonderful foliage. For some reason I have had a hard time getting my camera to focus properly when I am taking shots involving lots of little leaves.

    • Pauline says:

      I just have a point and press camera Deb, with a macro button for close-ups, so the camera must take any credit! It would be hard not to get decent photos with such beautiful subjects everywhere you look.

  6. Anna says:

    Have never had the pleasure of visiting Westonbirt Pauline but your post has so whetted my appetite to visit. Will have to work on himself. What absolutely fabulous colour . Thank you for sharing your visit with us.

    • Pauline says:

      It would be quite a way for you to go Anna, but worth it! The colours really were amazing, every time I go, I am almost speechless, it is all so beautiful.

  7. Lyn says:

    The trees are beautiful, but what really enchanted me was that lovely soft autumn light. Everything is very bright and clear here at the moment, which is nice too, but not romantic.

    • Pauline says:

      Lyn, we could have done with some of your bright, clear light in the summer instead of all the rain we had! I agree, the autumn light is lovely and soft, if we had your sunshine now all the leaves would burn to a crisp!

  8. wellywoman says:

    Lovely. I thought about going to Westonbirt this weekend too but we ended up elsewhere. It is beautiful at this time of year. And you had such lovely weather for your visit too.

    • Pauline says:

      The weather was superb WW, couldn’t have been better. I think the colours in the countryside are the best ever this year, all the way up on the motorway, the colours were superb. Autumn might have come a bit late this year, but it was worth the wait!

  9. Christina says:

    I sooooooooo miss the autumn colour, the way the temperature changes here means there is very little spectacular colour change, and Acers find it too sunny in my, and many other gardens, so you don’t see them very often. I had been planning a trip next autumn to the States to see the autumn colour but in all honesty I think it is as beautiful in the UK, and a trip to Westonbirt would cost a lot less! Christina

    • Pauline says:

      I think Acers would shrivel up in your hot sun Christina, this is one of the benefits of living in a cool country!! I think the colours this year must equal anything in the States, I have never known such wonderful colours everywhere, in the fields and at the sides of motorways. The problem with organising a trip would be the timing and the weather, both unpredictable here! I’m wondering why the colours seem so much brighter and later this year, could all our rain in the summer have anything to do with it?

  10. Alberto says:

    I am so happy when you share your garden trips with us! I really wonder how you manage to do everything while you are still recovering for your shoulder op and on top of that your husband should be very in love or patient to follow you! But hey, maybe he had fun as much as you, right? 😉
    Beautiful acers and fall colours but I must admit I’ve been more focused on that bed by the crossroad… Did you notice what was planted in it?

    • Pauline says:

      Alberto, my shoulder is fine thank you, while sitting in the car or walking. Taking photos was a bit of a problem sometimes but we coped. I don’t think my husband got quite the same enjoyment from the trees as I did, but after 46 yrs we still think each other is pretty special, & yes, he’s very patient too!!
      Sorry, didn’t notice what had been planted at the crossroads, will try and remember to look for you next year when we return!

  11. Simply gorgeous and so inspiring. I live in Kansas and been in hospital for the last month and missed our whole fall in one of its better years. After the drought we thought it would be a dud but while the hurricane did so much damage, the few inches we got saved the display and I still missed it.

    Rotten luck but as a quad I’m more that use to it.

    Charming post, my dear.

    • Pauline says:

      Glad you enjoyed the post Patrick, but sorry to hear that you’ve been in hospital again and missed all your famous autumn colours, so glad that you are now back with your computer once more.
      We were the opposite, thinking our autumn colour wouldn’t be very good because of the non stop rain we had all summer, but I think it has been the best year yet this year!
      We watched the hurricane on our news, absolutely devastating all the damage that was caused, to people, their homes, and trees, our hearts went out to you all.
      Good to have you back Patrick, but I’m having trouble getting your blog unfortunately.

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