WALKING THROUGH THE CANOPY AT WESTONBIRT ARBORETUM
Mark Taylor (Site Manager), Ellie Harrison of Countryfile and Colin Huntley (Contracts Manager)
Ellie Harrison from Countryfile was on hand to host the opening of the STIHL Treetop Walkway in Tetbury, Gloucestershire, which at 300 metres in length is the longest in the UK – taking visitors on a journey through the canopy of Silk Wood with views across Westonbirt’s collection of 15,000 trees.
The walkway is supported by 57 larch and Douglas fir timber legs that have been milled in the Netherlands.
Reaching 13.5 metres at its highest point, these towering legs support the steel framed, timber-decked walkway that features several interactive hot spots, and a crow’s nest viewing platform cantilevered off the main bridge providing visitors with an even closer view of the canopy.
The walkway is designed to deliver step free access into Silk Wood, which was previously hard to reach for those using mobility scooters, wheelchairs and pushchairs.
Speller Metcalfe was responsible for the build following successful completion of the Arboretum’s Welcome Building in 2014.
Andy Metcalfe, managing director at Speller Metcalfe: “As the contractor for the project it has been an exciting journey to create such a unique structure that will continue to attract visitors for years to come.
“Just being able to enjoy the arboretum from the ground is incredibly special, and that feeling is multiplied by seeing everything from a bird’s eye view that will continually change and adapt throughout the seasons.”
The Friends of Westonbirt Arboretum, a charity established to preserve and protect the arboretum, have raised £1.9 million to build the new walkway, which was designed by Glenn Howells Architects.
The STIHL Treetop Walkway is open to the public from 27 April.