Page last updated at 11:48 GMT, Thursday, 22 May 2008 12:48 UK

Kew Gardens opens treetop walkway

Xstrata walkway at Kew Gardens

A walkway 18m (59ft) above ground has been unveiled at London's Kew Gardens, enabling visitors to explore the treetop canopy.

Designed by architects behind the London Eye, the 200m (656ft) long Xstrata walkway will also offer aerial views of the capital's skyline.

Another attraction enables visitors to study the soil beneath the trees.

"We hope [they will] realise trees do matter and we need to nurture them," project manager Tony Kirkham said

"As a trained arborist I have had the privilege of being up in the tree canopy, experiencing trees at height and birds and other wildlife from a completely different perspective.

"It's fantastic that we are able to give visitors the same experience."

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The path is among the tree tops

Designed by Marks Barfield Architects, the treetop walkway enables visitors to enter the canopy of sweet chestnuts, limes and deciduous oaks to see birds, insects, lichens and fungi that rely upon them.

The other attraction - the Rhizotron - will be entered through an apparent crack in the ground and will show visitors the natural world beneath the trees, explaining the relationship between tree roots and micro-organisms in the soil.


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