Salcey Forest Canopy Walk
25 Jun 2009
In 2004, Salcey Forest was identified as an ideal location to deliver a cutting edge, high profile, greenspace improvement scheme, kick- starting the translation of a Pilot Green Infrastructure study into a network of on- the- ground, tangible projects.
Salcey Forest is a majestic, ancient, largely coniferous woodland on the clay plateau between Northampton and Milton Keynes. The Forest has been an important public recreation area for many decades, and is a hugely important area for nature conservation.
Taking inspiration from the tall, graceful oaks and the wildlife inhabiting them, a vision was formed of a walkway taking visitors up to experience this at first hand. A bridge between the ground and the sky, this should be accessible to all and would provide visitors with stunning birds-eye views, opening up the beauty of the landscape surrounding the forest itself. The ensuing treetop walkway was to be the first in the United Kingdom.
The structure incorporates a 300 linear metre ascent from the ground to 15m, taking the visitor through different types of woodland and habitats during a visit. A further climb at the end of the walkway takes the visitor up to the Crows Nest look out tower at 20m.
The structure links to the existing all ability route within the forest, providing level access to the launch point. A 1 in 12 slope meant that it is accessible by wheelchair, pushchairs etc. 1.5m wide, it also allows for two- way traffic, and gives people time to stop and contemplate/ rest…! Regular stopping platforms provide further opportunity to stop and take it all in.
The walkway has a spectacular entrance over the Elephant bridge so named because it curves around and over a pond built during the 2nd World War for zoo elephants borrowed to haul timber as part of the war effort.
Since its opening the Treetop Walkway has attracted thousands of visitors to Salcey Forest.
Many local schools take advantage of the site ranger who will take groups of children up the walkway, and conduct sessions teaching children about the forest from this superior vantage point.
Salcey Forest is between Milton Keynes and Northampton, and located immediately to the east of the small village of Hartwell.