"UK's highest, longest treetop walkway"
“Tall, wobbly and a bit scary - no, not me, but an intriguing new attraction on the border of Kent and Sussex.
In the expansive grounds of Groombridge Place, a medieval manor house outside Tunbridge Wells, you can get a squirrel’s eye view of south-east England as you clamber along the UK’s longest and highest treetop walkway.
“There’s an oak here, a pine, a huge chestnut beyond with a fabulous view”
gestures Paul Cameron, who designed the walkway for Groombridge Place’s owner, Justin Bodle.
“The journey takes you through the tree canopy so you can meet the birds and see the deer underneath,”
“It’s a nature walk, a walk in the woods, but right up in the tree canopy so you’re with the squirrels.”
Squirrels, in my experience, are more attuned to life at altitude than are humans, so they could cope more elegantly with the net-and-rope walkway. The sorts of netting that is normally attached to goalposts climbs skyward in a comforting V shape, with a sturdy rope at the bottom to give you a little more traction.
Even so, I found myself swaying fairly wildly as I climbed. Anyone expecting some kind of gentle boardwalk with handholds and convenient steps is soon disabused. From the sturdy wooden platform at the start, you hoist yourself towards some of the highest trees in the estate. And through them - squeezing between the boughs before launching yourself on the next episode. Like a good book, you don't know how it ends until you get there - though a ladder halfway along provides a useful escape for extreme wobblers.
Along the way, you cover a distance of 350m, and reach a height of 18m above the forest floor. Pausing to take in the impressive views is strongly recommended, in order to gasp for air as well as gain a new perspective on the lilting countryside.
The flight path for aircraft approaching Gatwick from the east goes directly overhead, while a constant rumble of traffic reminds you that the 21st century is close by. Yet the walkway provides a generous helping of the Great Outdoors, as well as some excellent cardio-vascular exercise.”
– Simon Calder, The Independent and BBC