View along timbered skywalk through forest canopy
An inspiring hybrid timber and steel canopy walk through one of the world’s finest tree collections. Photo © Rob Parrish courtesy Wood Awards 2016

High fives for new canopy walk

There’s a new treetop walkway attracting a lot of attention in Britain – not least for its beauty and sustainable design.

The Stihl Treetop Walkway at the Westonbirt National Arboretum in Gloucestershire takes visitors through the canopy of one of the finest tree collections in the world.

Perspective emphasising height of poles supporting canopy walk
Columns of Siberian larch rise up to 13.5m above ground. Photo © Rob Parrish courtesy Wood Awards 2016

It is an outstanding example of environmental design and engineering, and won the Commercial and Leisure category of the recently judged 2016 UK Wood Awards.

No pseudo wood decking for this 300m structure – the longest of its kind in the UK. And although it rises 13.5m above ground at times, there are no stairs or lifts to negotiate.

The elevated walk snakes above and through the tree canopy, supported by scissoring timber legs spaced at 10.5m intervals. It is a hybrid timber and steel structure, featuring turned Siberian larch columns, and Scottish larch decking and handrails.

The walkway was designed by Glenn Howells architects and engineered by Buro Happold for the UK Forestry Commission.

Source: UK Wood Awards 2016

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