Glenn Howells Architects has unwrapped its treetop walkway at Westonbirt Arboretum
The 300m-long timber route, which meanders through the arboretum, is the longest treetop path in the UK.
The 13m-high viewing platform ‘bulges out’ at four key points to form places where visitors can engage with the trees.
At one point a crow’s nest rises up and wraps around a 36m-tall black pine tree offering views out over the historic landscape.
The walkway, which both starts and finishes at ground level, uses the sloping topography of the land and rises up 13 metres as it follows the valley floor.
Glenn Howells Architects’ has already completed a visitor centre at the arboretum site and last month Invisible Studio completed a store and a mess building.
Architect Glenn Howells, said: ‘The walkway allows all visitors, regardless of age or ability, to experience the site from the treetops for the first time. Focusing on visitor needs and materiality, the walkway is designed to disappear as a sinuous silver ribbon that meanders between trees and canopies. The aim is that this new feature will greatly enhance visitor experience and help to ensure Westonbirt’s popularity for many years to come.’
Andrew Smith, arboretum director, added: ‘People have been enjoying the views of Westonbirt from the ground for generations, so the time has come to offer our visitors a new and exciting way to see the arboretum by getting up close and personal with the canopy, just like our tree team!
‘This landmark addition transforms the visitor experience with incredible views, which have never been seen before. It also provides a family friendly and fun way for visitors to engage with the world of trees! The STIHL Treetop Walkway is the start of an exciting new chapter in Westonbirt’s history and can be enjoyed as the seasons change throughout the year.’
STIHL Treetop Walkway by Glenn Howells Architects
Location Westonbirt, Gloucestershire
Type of project cultural
Client Forestry Commission
Architect Glenn Howells Architects
Engineer Buro Happold