Botanic Gardens Project

Accoya® wood has been specified for an integral part of the ‘Understanding Plant Diversity’ project in Cambridge University’s Botanic Gardens, one of the largest university-owned botanic gardens in the world.  Following an invited competition in the summer of 2016, Chadwick Dryer Clarke was appointed as the project lead to create a path structure to inspire and intrigue visitors. ‘The Rising Path’, a galvanised steel structure clad with Accoya® wood balustrades and decking, was created to meet the brief.

The 65 metre long dynamic spiral, which has a three-metre high elevated viewpoint, features an interpretation hub designed to inspire visitors to explore the garden’s Systematic Beds and offer new ways to explore the science of plant taxonomy.

Robin Dryer, Director of Chadwick Dryer Clarke, commented: “During the development of the design we considered various types of wood, and it was Sustainable Building Advisor, Alexander Reeve, from the Cambridge University Estates Department who first suggested Accoya® wood due to its outstanding environmental qualities.”

He adds, “Following further investigations into the product and meetings with Justin Peckham, Head of UK Sales at Accsys Group, it was decided that Accoya® wood not only provided the necessary durability and sustainability qualities – with its C2C accreditation and 50 year above ground guarantee – but it could be machined to a smooth finish and had a complementary light colour and knot free surface that would enhance the design.”

The balusters were 38x100mm sections, end sealed with Osmo and grain sealing wax.  Over 1,300 linear metres of non-slip Accoya® wood decking supplied by Gripsure was installed in four meter lengths and cut down to 22x142mm sections with two non-slip strips and stair treads with special contract edges, as well as a series of bespoke non-slip resin supergraphics where letters and numbers, each corresponding to a different aspect in the evolution of plants, are routed into the deck, for both aesthetic and educational appeal.

An installation by Designmap which has also been made from Accoya® wood is designed to educate visitors as they enter the Botanic Gardens. The structure was crafted to add an extra dimension to the newly opened site.

Accoya® wood is produced using Accsys Group’s proprietary acetylation process, which chemically alters the cell structure of the wood to resist distortion. Certified Cradle to Cradle™ (C2C) Gold in recognition of its sustainability credentials, Accoya® wood has the added benefit of offering peace of mind for the environmentally conscious.

Accoya® wood is available to buy throughout the UK and Ireland.