Record numbers visit Dawyck Botanic Garden as lockdown eases

The desire to venture back into the great outdoors and reconnect with nature has brought record numbers of visitors flocking to Dawyck Botanic Garden, near Peebles, over the past two months.

In July, the 65 acre arboretum was visited by 4,173 people compared to 3,601 for the same period last year. August’s figures were even more impressive. Staff at Dawyck welcomed 4,523 visitors which was 1,049 up on August last year.

The boost in visitor numbers is in the main being attributed to more people holidaying at home rather than venturing abroad, visitors from south of the Border, staycationers and locals keen to support the Garden.

Garden Curator, Graham Stewart explained: “Since the Garden reopened on 1 July there has been a noticeable increase in visitors who are keen to get back out into the fresh air and enjoy a walk surrounded by plants. People who have homes with no or limited outdoor space are particularly eager to visit and reap the benefits of immersing themselves in nature.’’

He added: “I have noticed that there are more families with children visiting at the moment. Again, that is perhaps because families are not having a holiday abroad this year.’’

Dawyck, a Five-Star Garden, is home to some of Britain’s tallest and oldest trees as well as plants from Nepal, China and Chile. It also has Heron Wood, the world’s first cryptogamic sanctuary.

As a Regional Garden of the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh (RBGE), while the country emerges from COVID-19 lockdown, Dawyck brings fresh focus on Scotland’s economic and green recovery plans. RBGE, across its four Gardens, promotes, health and wellbeing and the positives to be gained from engaging with the environment, as well as its globally important research, conservation and learning in the face of the climate emergency and biodiversity crisis.

In response to the pandemic, health and safety measures have been put in place at the Garden but Mr Stewart believes they aren’t impacting on the visitor experience. For instance, extra picnic benches have been placed outside so visitors can buy a picnic box from the Dawyck Café Takeway or bring their own refreshments.

For further information about the Covid-19 restrictions and the Garden visit rbge.org.uk.