The summer of 2019 saw the return of bears to ancient woodlands on the outskirts of Bristol after thousands of years away. Bear Wood shows the effects of woodland loss on our native wildlife. It is the story of what was, where we are now and what is still at stake. Five European grey wolves were moved to a new home which they share with the brown bears. Lynx and wolverine also roam the woodland as they would have done centuries ago.

Elmtree was part of the exciting development of Bear Wood and we are extremely proud to have been involved in the project. Our brief was to install a timber walkway that winds through seven and a half acres of woodland. Elmtree were responsible for the construction of a raised timber winding walkway 705 metres long and 2.4m wide with wider sections and up to 7 metres in height that enables visitors to walk through the woods and see wild animals in an ancient woodland setting. We were working on site for 9 months.

As part of our timber package, we also constructed other buildings including: Time chamber; Classroom; Bear and Wolf house; Bear and Wolf viewing area; Bear viewing pod; Café and Toilets; A ranger station; and an Interpretation space, providing a creating an immersive experience for all.

 We gave careful consideration to maintaining as much of the woodlands as possible during construction and we were not permitted any type of machinery on the woodland floor so completed all of our works by hand.

 Adverse weather conditions during the 2018-19 winter months were a test. High winds completely stopped works for periods of time due to the risk of falling branches.

 The success of the project and meeting the opening deadline can only be apportioned to teamwork and the sheer grit and determination of the Elmtree operatives on the ground. Without them, this would not have been possible. We are very proud of all of our operatives, you can be sure of getting a dedicated team who pull out all of the stops, working evenings and weekends if necessary to ensure your project is completed on time.

Ian Emery, Project Manager at the Wild Place and Bristol Zoo said “The dedication, determination and attention to detail delivered by the Elmtree team has driven this project forward beyond our expectations. Faced with a challenging site, working around existing trees and a diverse wildlife ecosystem, the team at Elmtree has delivered an exceptional woodland walkway that will offer our guests breath-taking views not only of our animals, but spectacular vistas though the tree canopy towards the Severn estuary.”

Ian said that in the light of the quality of work achieved by Elmtree they had awarded extra work packages. “The team at Elmtree has produced a truly unique accessible woodland experience for future generations. All have shown a true passion for our project, outstanding flexibility, problem solving and support, without which we would have been unable to deliver a truly exceptional project,” he added.

Bear Walk is the longest timber Walkway of its kind in the United Kingdom, and comprised a large number of materials, including:

  • 863no. 4.8m 200mm diameter Timber Poles
  • 910no. Timber Bearers
  • 2772no. Timber Joists
  • 11088no. Nails
  • 4935no. Deck Boards
  • 69090no. Deck screws
  • 59220no. Screws for pales
  • 1410 linear metres of Handrail
  • 9870no. Timber pales
  • 466no. Steel Braces
  • 863no. Steel Collars
  • 6576no. Nuts and bolts

 Elmtree are specialists in timber work, external carpentry, elevated timber works, timber walkways and external timber projects as well as commercial fencing. Contact us for any enquires and we would love to meet your timber walkway needs!


Contact our Timber suppliers for all your internal and external FSC Timber requirements: