These grass- and woodlands near Westonbirt are like Glastonbury for your dog’s nose. And in the autumn, it’s enchantingly beautiful for us humans, too
For dogs, trees are pretty sexy: notice board and casual hang-out spot, they are newsstand, Facebook and Instagram in one. The National Arboretum at Westonbirt, near Tetbury on the Gloucestershire-Cotswolds border, has 15,000 of them. So, pack up the pooches and head for a stroll among awe-inspiring autumn foliage – because trees are not only beautiful for dogs.
This historic forest started to grow in the 1850s, having been initiated by the wealthy landowner of the Westonbirt estate. Now managed by the Forestry Commission, it comprises 15,000 labelled trees of around 2,500 varieties from the UK, North America, China, Japan, Chile and other countries with similar climes to ours. With the exception of the Old Arboretum, this is not only dog-friendly, it’s probably the most exciting thing they will sniff all year.
Wunderdog went earlier this month, when the trees on this 600 acre estate with 17 miles of paths were still largely green, but we could see the first leaves turning. The STIHL Treetop Walkway, a wooden bridge near the entrance, is magical at any time of the year and offers unique views and smells. The bridge leads to walks through the Silk Wood, which makes up around two-thirds of the entire Arboretum. Further on lies the Grade-I-registered downs, a grassland with more species than your dog can ever sniff. Our senior-dog-paced amble through a quarter of this enchanted land took about an hour. With a sportier dog model and lunch at the restaurant you can easily spend three hours here.