Treetop view at Kew

July 12, 2008 at 5:34 pm 2 comments

I was literally squealing with excitement at the thought of the newly unveiled, £3m Tree Top Walkway at the Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew.

Spurred on by childhood fantasies of tree dwelling Robin Hood types, Ewok villages and little militant teddies, I won’t lie, I was a little disappointed with what I found. Having practically frog marched my party through acres of Capability Brown’s finest, my heart was racing, expecting ropes, hoistings, angry 2 footers and Morgan Freeman, I was dismayed to see an old British favourite in its full heaving glory; the queue.

‘I’spose this means it’s good?’ muttered an enthusiastic gimp – what kind of logic is that???

I’m being too harsh we shouldn’t judge by line size, for of course there was a line, there was always going to be a line, Britain thrives on lines – collective line misery is something we are very good at, but thats for another time.

Aaaaaany way, I digress, we reach Kew’s new Treetop Walkway. A soring steel structure, taking you directly into the canopy above. It had been open for hmm, maybe 2 weeks so of course the lift was broken and people had to walk to the top – but in reality, this is probably a good thing.

After a 15 minute stairwell climb due to the achingly slow pace of the queue, 60 ft up, we reach the top and for the first time, look out at the 650ft walkway ahead of us. It is certainly impressive. I look down. We are freakin’ high, and the floor is see through – not cool if heights aren’t your thing, not cool if heights are your thing.

After letting my resentment for the lack of rope bridges go, walking the treetops was all well and good. However, I couldn’t help but think that this walkway had so much promise of being something really impressive, it just fell short repeatedly:

The view was / had the potential to be amazing but was restricted by the foliage (ok yes, yes, it will be better in winter i know, i know), the single line flow of treetop dorks was innately retarded and probably a hazard, that will probably result in the immediate death of everyone, who knows? But the most fan-tabulous factor of all was that good ‘ol treetop was wobbling!??!. Let’s just say it had a Millennium Bridge moment and I was outta there.

The Treetop walk is cool, don’t get me wrong, but just give this exhibit some time. When the hype has died down, the noobs who built it have been back to wobble school and the trees have died (winter not bad karma) then try again – especially any aeronautical dorks out there, go. go. go. (It’s worth it just to be able to look right into the eye of the pilots heading to land at Heathrow – those baby’s are low, I swear I touched a DC10, no really… that low).

p.s Dork = Good.


Entry filed under: Environment, New Stuff, Photography, Review, Technology. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , .

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2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Kirby  |  July 12, 2008 at 6:12 pm

    A most excellent view is accompanied by some informative and child orientated information plaques. I remember the anticipation of the queue raising my expectations of the experience which were not a disappointment, though I hope that the lift may be ready before next summer. This new attraction shows that Kew Gardens is for more than just floraphiles and well worth the entrance fee. But make sure you choose a clear, dry day.

  • 2. greenidesign  |  July 12, 2008 at 6:15 pm

    Im not sure – Rain and kew could make for an amazing photoshoot… hmm ideas!


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