Treetop walkway to open at Westonbirt arboretum

An aerial pathway through the leafy canopy of The Forestry Commission's National Arboretum, Westonbirt, will be officially unveiled on 26 April.

The new treetop walkway. Image: Westonbirt
The new treetop walkway. Image: Westonbirt

The landmark 'STIHL Treetop Walkway' whisks visitors into and above the arboretum's tree-tops for a birds-eye view of the world-renowned tree collection. It will be officially opened by Countryfile presenter Ellie Harrison.

The new 13m-high walkway will transform the woodland experience at the Gloucestershire arboretum, promising views across the landscape and enabling visitors to discover more about Westonbirt's 15,000 trees from high above the ground.

The 300 metre route follows a serpentine path through the trees and along the contours of the site, providing step-free access into the arboretum's Silk Wood for people of all abilities.

It is part of Phase 2 of the arboretum's redevelopment plan, which also includes a tree management centre. 

Robin Lennie, managing director at STIHL, said the opening will be a significant milestone for the company, which is sponsoring the walkway.

"As a leading outdoor power equipment company with such a rich heritage in tree management, it is important for us to support initiatives that help educate people on our wildlife and reinforce the message that chainsaws help foster the growth of our ecosystems," he said.

"It will be wonderful to see families and school children step foot on the walkway for the first time and get a whole new perspective of the breathtaking arboretum."

The walkway structure is made from Larch and Douglas Fir and includes more than 20 pairs of timber legs, ranging in size from 2.5 metres up to 14 metres tall.

The walkway experience will also feature seven interactive hotspots to give visitors of all ages the chance to get up-close with nature and learn more about the fascinating world of trees.

Andrew Smith, director at Westonbirt Arboretum said: "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 walkway will be an exciting new chapter in Westonbirt's history, he added.

"We're incredibly proud of it and would like to thank all the trusts, foundations, companies and individual donors who have given their time and money to make this project a reality."

The new walkway will be open from 27 April. Access will be included within the admission to the arboretum.

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