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Award for Arborist whose Work is Enjoyed by Millions

An arborist whose work has been enjoyed by millions has been presented with a Royal Forestry Society (RFS) Long Service Award by His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales.

By Wendy Necar · March 22, 2022

Richard Townsend receives his RFS Long Service Award from the Prince of Wales. Picture Credit: Johnny Hathaway 

The Prince of Wales presented the award to Richard Townsend while visiting the National Arboretum at Westonbirt, near Tetbury, Gloucestershire.

Richard joined Westonbirt on 30 August 1988 as an Arboretum Craftsman. He soon became a highly respected tree climber and was once crowned European Pole Climbing Champion. Richard is now Westonbirt’s Head Arborist.

Mark Ballard, Curator of the Arboretum, says Richard’s skills have contributed to the exceptional condition of the 15,000 botanical specimens within the living tree collection at Westonbirt.

He adds: “I have thoroughly enjoyed working with Richard over the years. He is hard working, dependable and sets a great example to both those within the arboretum and in the wider tree community.

“He cares about the arboretum passionately. He also has a deep appreciation of the trees and historic landscape at Westonbirt.  We have shared some amazing times together. I simply can’t imagine the place without him.”

Westonbirt is registered as Grade One with The Historic England ‘Register of Parks and Gardens of Special Historic Interest in England’.  It’s 253ha include areas designated as arboretum, open downland, wood pasture and ancient semi-natural woodland.

The Arboretum is part of the public forest estate and attracts over 550,000 visitor a year. It is managed by Forestry England, with support from the Friends of Westonbirt Arboretum. The stated Mission is “to connect people with trees, to improve the quality of life”.