Tree Top Walkway update
We have had to make the difficult decision to remove the Tree Top Walkway at Salcey Forest, which has been closed since 2018 because of serious structural safety issues.
We have spent considerable time investigating and weighing up the options of repairing it, as we genuinely believed we were going to be able to repair the walkway and extend its life for another 10 years. Our initial estimates, that were based on preliminary inspections from specialists backed up this hope.
However, having had detailed structural inspections undertaken, and accurate costs supplied, we now know the true cost to repair the walkway for an additional decade is in the region of £1.7million, with additional costs to maintain it during the extended lifespan. This figure vastly exceeds the funding available to us, and even if we could spend that amount of money at Salcey Forest (or other forests in the area) we believe we could invest in better ways for visitors long-term than focusing on the walkway.
Instead, we will use the opportunity to redevelop the area where the Tree Top Walkway currently stands as part of a £240k investment into the site, to create a new visitor space called The Glade. By planting new shrubs, trees and a wildflower area, and creating a new winding, all-ability path with seating and a covered activity space, The Glade will become a destination where visitors can spend time enjoying this beautiful part of Salcey Forest.
We know the Tree Top Walkway has warm memories and associations for many people who have loved visiting it for a bird’s eye view over the tree canopy and understand how sad many will feel. However as disappointing as this news is, the reality is that repairing and maintaining timber structures – particularly outdoors – is only effective for a limited time before parts have to be replaced.
We hope you continue to value Salcey Forest as a fantastic place to visit and experience the many benefits of being out in nature. And as we enter this new phase for Salcey Forest, the creation of The Glade isn’t the only bit of news:
As part of the development of The Glade, we will be restoring Elephant Bridge by using green oak from the trees in the forest that will need to be felled around the walkway, making good use of this timber and allowing Elephant Bridge to be reopened for visitors to enjoy once again
The popular play area is also to be redeveloped, with £60,000 to be invested in new play equipment to replace pieces that are currently reaching the end of their life.
Salcey Forest is soon to welcome the Gruffalo! Currently scheduled for 2023, visitors will be able to head into the deep dark wood to discover a giant Gruffalo sculpture.
We will continue to work with local health and fitness groups to put on new events and activities for people to enjoy in the forest
In the meantime, Salcey Forest remains a stunning woodland, popular with visitors. With many miles of trails for walking, cycling and horse riding amongst the ancient wood banks and trees it is a special place for people to enjoy the many benefits of being out in the natural environment.