Glenn Howells Architects complete UK's longest treetop walkway

by Kim Megson | 27 Apr 2016

The longest treetop walkway in the UK has opened to the public in a botanical garden in Gloucestershire.

The twisting 300m (984ft) route weaves through the National Arboretum at Westonbirt, starting and ending at ground level and rising 13m (88ft) in height as it follows the valley floor below.

Named the STIHL Treetop Walkway, the installation has been designed by Glenn Howells Architects with engineers Buro Happold.

The £2m (US$3m, €2.6m) walkway has been created by using advanced computational parametric principles and uses materials that complement the surroundings, such as timber legs that will age over time. Foundations have been carefully located to avoid impact on existing trees.

At four points, the walkway widens to form hotspots where visitors can stop and look across the 240 hectare Aboretum, which features over 15,000 trees of 3,000 varieties.

The Westonbirt Arboretum was created in the early 1800s as a park to exhibit trees and woody plants. It has been recognised by English Heritage as a Grade I registered landscape and garden of special historic interest. Since 1956 it has been developed and maintained by the Forestry Commission.

“The walkway allows all visitors, regardless of age or ability, to experience the site from the treetops for the first time,” said architect Glenn Howells. “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.”

Glenn Howells Architects  treetop walkway  National Arboretum at Westonbirt  Forestry Commission  architecture  design 
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The longest treetop walkway in the UK has opened to the public in a botanical garden in Gloucestershire. The twisting 300m (984ft) route weaves through the National Arboretum at Westonbirt, starting and ending at ground level and rising 13m (88ft) in height as it follows the valley floor below. Named the STIHL Treetop Walkway, the installation has been designed by Glenn Howells Architects with engineers Buro Happold. The £2m (US$3m,
CLD,VAT,AAC,ARC,DES
Named the STIHL Treetop Walkway, the installation has been designed by Glenn Howells Architects with engineers Buro Happold / Rob Parrish
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