Westonbirt Treetop Walkway opens to the public
The Treetop Walkway at Westonbirt Arboretum was opened to the public by BBC Countryfile presenter Ellie Harrison, accompanied by the design team, client, funders and contributors to the project.
The new 280m long Walkway meanders its way through the trees of the Silk Wood responding to the topography of the land. Providing ground level access for people of all ages allowing them to get an unique viewpoint at 14m high in to the tree canopy, as well as viewing the downs further afield. Visitors are encouraged to stay a while and enjoy views at four key observation points, and to venture further by exploring the additional elevation of the Walkway that wraps around a 36-metre tall pine tree.
The Walkway legs are timber and due to their size, were tapered to minimise their visual impact at ground level. For simplicity, appearance and to limit costs, solid section timbers were selected. Set within mature trees, the careful treatment of the existing trees and roots were priorities when designing the foundations. This included a detailed survey of the exact location, extent and orientation of every footing being marked out on site, followed by a comprehensive excavation strategy with clear procedures for root protection. The sensitive approach to design, selection of materials and Walkway placement results in the seamless blending of the Walkway into its environment.
Jonathan Roynon, Technical Director at BuroHappold Engineering said:
‘We are really proud to have been part of the team delivering the Westonbirt Tree Walkway. Getting people up and close to trees at a high level is a major structural challenge but working closely with the design team, clients tree experts and the various specialist contractors it has been possible to do just this whilst protecting the trees and providing an attraction that has already proven to be very popular.’
BuroHappold Engineering previously shortlisted for The Institute of Structural Engineers ‘Structural Awards 2016’ for the Westonbirt Welcome Building.