The unique 180-metre long walkway will enable visitors to explore the canopy of the Rainforest Biome at the family attraction. It will also feature educational pods along the path, which detail the marvels of nature that can be viewed from the elevation - a world first.
The pioneering canopy walkway will be some 15 metres at its highest point and poses some unusual challenges as Jonathan Sharp, Project Manager for Ward William Associates, explains:
“The Rainforest Biome offers a unique construction challenge. All the work will be carried out at night and all materials will be brought in by hand rather than crane. The heat and humidity create difficult ground conditions and a highly corrosive environment, so we will be using sustainable materials with a long life cycle.”
Ward Williams Associates is Cornwall’s biggest quantity surveying practice and it has considerable credentials for sustainable construction. The consultancy has also committed to employing as many locally-sourced parties as possible.
The Duke and Duchess of Cornwall recently marked the start of the project by driving a specially inscribed bamboo stake into the ground at the start of the path, which reads: ‘Eden Project Rainforest Walkway – The journey begins. The future of the Rainforest is our future too. Marked by Their Royal Highnesses The Duke and Duchess of Cornwall.’
Suitable for all ages, the new walk will be fully accessible and will be incorporated into the existing paths. Entry will be possible from a number of different points so that visitors can pass in and out of the treetops experience. Through-flow ventilation and possible water misting will help to combat the heat of the Tropical Biome.
It is planned that work on the 12-month project will start in the New Year. It will build on the initial investment of the Rainforest Lookout which opened last summer. Eden’s Finance Direct Peter Cox is excited about the project and pleased to have retained Ward Williams Associate’s extensive experience.
“We’re delighted that we’ll be able to offer our visitors the once in a lifetime experience of walking through the canopy of a rainforest. The walkway will offer a completely new perspective on the Tropical Biome and the opportunity to view plants that only live in the canopy while the educational pods will explain exactly what is on view. Working conditions for this project are quite unique, so we are very pleased to be working with Ward Williams Associates who are experienced in creative solutions for challenging projects.”
Celebrating its 10th anniversary this year, the Eden Project is aiming to raise up to £4 million to create the whole Rainforest Experience. This will include the walkway and a learning centre complete with scientific research equipment and hammocks to replicate an authentic field station.
With offices in Truro, Plymouth, Bristol, Evesham and London, Ward Williams Associates’ core expertise areas are Project and Cost Management, Building Surveying and Health and Safety. The firm has long-established relationships with world class signature architects and engineers such as Foster and Partners, Gensler, Skidmore Owings & Merrill, and Buro Happold.