A GRANT of  £1.9 million from the Heritage Lottery Fund has been awarded to Westonbirt Arboretum.

The grant means phase one of the Westonbirt Project - a development plan which includes restoration of the Grade I registered landscape and the construction of a new Welcome Building and car park can begin in 2013.

"This is a great step forward in realising our ambitious plans to raise the level of the arboretum's visitor and learning facilities to match that of its world class tree collection.

"This award will go a long way to help make Westonbirt a place where all visitors can enjoy and learn so much more about the arboretum and its trees," said Simon Toomer, arboretum director.

The funding will also allow the arboretum to engage with wider communities through new projects and more resources.