Arup to design treetop walkway in Leicestershire

27 February 2018

Planners have given permission for the construction of a treetop pathway, as part of a regeneration project in Leicestershire. The new walk at the site of a former colliery will be designed by architects from Cullinan Studio and professional services firm Arup.

Backed by the National Forest Charitable Trust, a winding 400 metre path at the 110ha Conkers site in Leicestershire has been cleared for production by local councillors. The aerial walkway is designed to enhance learning opportunities for school children, and will see the redevelopment of the former Rawdon Colliery.

The treetop walk will include three tree houses, dubbed ‘eyries’, which will be covered viewing platforms, as well as event and educational spaces, enclosed by a timber gridshell structure clad in timber shingles. The construction will allow for better viewing of local forest wildlife, as well as improving connectivity between two areas of the Conkers visitor attraction, which are currently separated by a railway line.Arup to design treetop walkway in LeicestershireThe construction will be designed by architectural firm Cullinan Studio and engineering consultancy Arup. The firm has previous experience in the design of such a walkway, Arup's structural, civil and environmental design engineers having been involved from the earliest concept design stage of the Mamu Rainforest Canopy Walkway. The elevated tree-top trail through the lush rainforest of the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area of North Queensland, Australia was designed by Arup, with a key aspect of their work being the engineering of the walkway and its steel supporting towers.  

Arup will hope to apply experience from this project and others like it to help them with the plans for this new project. The walkway, which is up to 12 metres above ground, will be a galvanised steel structure, featuring guard rails of weathered steel fins and non-slip galvanised steel decking.

An earth rampart at one end of the walkway will also form a lakeside amphitheatre for events, while a number of widenings on the meandering route will act as meeting and passing places, as well as offering resting points to take in the views. Interpretation panels will also be placed at various points, to inform visitors about the surrounding trees and site history.

Elsewhere, Arup recently helped to design the shell of a new combined heat and power plant in Manchester, as well as an innovative ‘solar gate’ in Hull, to help celebrate the Northern city’s stint as UK city of culture. 


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