Like many of you, I have fond memories of visits to Salcey Forest to explore the canopy by climbing up the iconic Tree Top Way. Opening in 2005, this beautiful walkway – sourced from local Northamptonshire green oak and crafted by a skilled local workforce – now attracts around 250,000 visitors a year to this ancient woodland.
As the former Environment Secretary, I am a huge champion of encouraging everyone to come out and enjoy their natural surroundings, and we have some of the most beautiful woodland you’ll find anywhere in the country on our doorstep here in Northamptonshire.
I was deeply disappointed by the decision taken recently to close the walk, although I do understand the safety concerns that drove it. That said, it would have been sensible for Forest Enterprise England to have considered reinvesting some of the money levied through car-parking charges at Salcey Forest in better maintaining the structure in recent years.
I have written to the Chief Executive of FEE, Simon Hodgson, asking him to do all that he can to ensure that the Tree Top Way reopens as soon as possible. Read my letter here. It is an important Northants tourist attraction that brings considerable numbers of visitors to our area, pumping money into our local economy, and it would be a considerable shame were it to remain closed.
I am aware that over 30,000 people have now signed the petition started by Emma Mooney calling for the Tree Top Way to be saved, and a number of constituents have been in touch with me directly. I am committed to doing all that I can to support this important campaign, and I hope that we can convince Simon and FEE that this wonderful community asset is worth saving.
You can sign the petition here.