Tree Top Way fenced off following safety inspection at forest near Northampton
A popular tree-top walk in a forest near Northampton has been shut over health and safety concerns.
Visitors to Salcey Forest yesterday (May 10) found the entrance to the Tree Top Way barricaded following an inspection by the Forestry Commission.
But staff at the nearby Forest Cafe say the closure will damage their business and have criticised the government body for not investing in the attraction while they had the chance.
Katherine Staniforth, owner of the cafe, said: "I'm distraught. I'm could lose so much business over this.
"People come from all over to see the walk. It's such a unique selling point for the forest. We had a visitor from Australia today and we had to tell them it was shut."
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 reportedly cost Â£750,000 to build.
But sources say they have spotted rotten timbers along the structure.
A spokesperson from The Forestry Commission said: "The Tree Top Way at Salcey Forest is currently closed following a safety inspection that indicates we need to review a number of maintenance options.
"At this stage we don’t know how long this closure will be for.
"However there is still lots to see and do at Salcey Forest, including our walking and cycling trails, the play area, excellent onsite cafe and the beautiful forest itself."
A petition to "Save Salcey Forest Treetop Walk" has been launched and is calling for action to keep "this well-loved attraction open". At time of writing, it has gained 750 signatures in six hours."