The Viper Elevated Walkway at the Newt in Somerset
Henry Fagan & Partners
Mr Koos Bekker, The Newt in Somerset
Castle Cary, UK
Mark Thomas Architects
Bernard James & Partners
STEELWORK CONTRACTOR SA
STEELWORK CONTRACTOR UK
MJ Patch & Co
TIMBER WORK CONTRACTOR
H G Holliday
An elegant and elevated woodland walkway. The design took a sensitive approach to the environment, ensuring minimal impact on the natural forest floor. To achieve this, columns are supported on tripods on steel piles and manufactured to individual bespoke dimensions. Its winding layout is designed to avoid all the trees in the forest canopy.
Submitted in 2020
This elevated woodland walkway glides through the trees. Good design often aims to be sympathetic with nature but this project, in fact, feels at one with nature.
The engineers demonstrated careful thought on the radii of the curved deck and worked hard to minimise forest floor interventions. Steel piles were used rather than conventional concrete bases for the column foundations, their positions carefully chosen to avoid tree roots. Tripods above the ground were used to connect the columns onto the piles, rather than conventional pile caps, thus avoiding the use of any concrete in the forest.
The project uses three steel posts to smartly achieve fixed bottom connection for the columns. The column section is light and unique, and its bolted connection makes it easy to be dissembled and recycled.
The project is a charming example of how a sensitive approach and diligence during the design and construction processes can create something of enduring beauty.