Cost of repairing Tree Top Walk near Northampton 'beyond budget'

The future of the Salcey Forest Tree Top Walk remains uncertain.
The future of the Salcey Forest Tree Top Walk remains uncertain.

The cost of repairing a popular forest treetop walk near Northampton has proved 'beyond budget', the Government has announced.

The future of the Tree Top Way in Salcey Forest has been thrown back into uncertainty as the Forestry Commission struggles to find the money to carry out vital works to save it.

The walk was closed in May 2018 after safety inspectors spotted rotten timbers on the walk.

The walk was closed in May 2018 after safety inspectors spotted rotten timbers on the walk.

More than 32,000 people signed a petition to save the walkway after safety inspectors spotted rotten timbers along the structure and closed it off in May 2018 due to 'major safety concerns'.

Now, nearly a year after the walkway first shut, a survey has found the full costs of rebuilding the damaged sections is too expensive.

A Forestry Commission spokesman said: "As the walkway had reached the end of its life, the full surveyor’s report has found that the work required to make the structure safe is beyond the Forestry Commission’s standard budget.

"We are currently looking for other ways of securing the funding required to repair and re-open the Tree Top Way so it can be enjoyed for years to come."

It comes after the Government announced in November it hoped to rebuild the lower sections of the walk and was looking at how to fund the work.

The Tree Top Way is a quarter-mile route that rises to 20 metres above the forest floor, and at its height offers a view above the trees. It opened in 2005 and cost £750,000 to build.

Fans of the walk have feared the attraction would be condemned and celebrated the decision to save it in November.

However, it now remains uncertain if the walk will remain closed for another year.

The spokesman said: “We have been overwhelmed with the passion felt for Salcey Forest’s Tree Top Way.

"We are working hard behind the scenes to find a way forward, and we hope to give you more details in the next few months.”