Work begins on Kew walkway

Work began in earnest on a tree-top exhibit at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew this month.

The tree-top walkway project team aims to send visitors away with messages concerning climate change and the value of trees (HW, 25 October). Excavations for the rhizotron — an underground chamber to view tree roots — are being dug out and foundations are in place for the tree-like pylons that will support the 18m structure. Kew’s director of communications and commercial activities Jill Preston said: “While there are other tree-top walkways, what makes this design unique is the combination of the walkway with a rhizotron.” Kew’s head of arboretum Tony Kirkham said: “One of our main aims with this project is to get people closer to trees so that they understand them and are inspired by them. “Trees are under enormous pressure in towns. Insurers are coming down hard on them because of fears of subsidence. People believe the traditional view that what you see above ground on a tree is mirrored underground. What the rhizotron can show is that tree roots are not as deep as people think. At Kew they only go 1m down. If people go away with one message then we have achieved our goal.” It will also feature “the highest open-air classroom in the UK”.

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