UK’s longest treetop walkway opens

Look up, Westonbirt is now home to a very long walkway

The UK's longest treetop walkway in the National Arboretum at Westonbirt, Gloucestershire, is now open to the public.

At 300m long, the route integrates seamlessly into the environment thanks to Glen Howells Architects and engineers Buro Happold who teamed up to design and construct the STIHL Treetop Walkway.

treetop walkway

Image: Rob Parrish

Using advanced computational parametric principles the walkway graciously rises from ground level to reach a height of 13m, and falls gently to finish at ground level, all the while using the topography of the land.

treetop walkway

Image: Rob Parrish

The materials complement the surrounding tree area, ensuring the walkway forms a symbiotic relationship with the environment.

The structure has been meticulously designed to ensure all aspects from a visual and physical aspect can integrate with the environment. Each distance point of legs is the same 10.5m, providing a visually appealing continuous flow and the foundations are carefully positioned to avoid impacting existing trees. Strong and lightweight steel balustrade minimises the amount of structure required and reduces impact on the surrounding nature, while timber legs are chosen for their natural ageing over time.

treetop walkway

Image: Rob Parrish

Architect Glenn Howells commented: 'We are very proud to have designed this unique treetop walkway for the historic and internationally renowned arboretum at Westonbirt. The walkway allows all visitors, regardless of age or ability, to experience the site from the treetops for the first time.'

Walkers can enjoy becoming immersed in nature along the 300m route, where the walkway 'bulges' out at four stations to forms hotspots for visitors to engage with their natural surroundings.

treetop walkway

Image: Rob Parrish

Three generations of the Holford family from the early 1800s initiated the now-internationally recognised Westonbirt Arboretum, leading to its recognition by English heritage as a Grade I registered landscape and garden of special interest.

Other long walkways in the UK include Kew Gardens at 18m high and 200m long.

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Main image credit: Rob Parrish

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