A new fly-through video has been produced giving a sneak preview of what the new Bear Wood exhibit at Wild Place Project will look like.
The 60-second video takes viewers on a journey along the 4-metre-high walkway that winds its way through this ancient woodland and enables them to look directly down on the bears, wolves, lynx and wolverine.
The computer-generated video then takes viewers down a ramp into the heart of the exhibit from where people will be able to stand in a custom-built viewing den with 180 degree floor to ceiling windows placing them inches away from the bears.
The raised walkway is already half way to completion and in the coming weeks workers will focus on the houses for bears and wolves as well as the bear viewing den.
Bear Wood will tell the story of Wild Place Project’s ancient woods and see European brown bears, wolves, lynx and wolverine live beneath their branches for the first time in hundreds of years.
Ian Emery, project manager of Bear Wood, said: “Work is progressing very well. We are now working in multiple areas of the site including the bears and wolves’ house.”
Ian added: “We are really excited by this project and very much looking forward to revealing Bear Wood when we open it to visitors this summer.”
Bear Wood is being built by Bristol-based construction firm, Dribuild Group. Matt Tyler, Dribuild’s managing director, said: “We’re delighted to be involved in such a unique and exciting project that will preserve this ancient woodland, and its wildlife, for many years to come.
“The project is progressing well with a lot of hard work and effort from all the teams and contractors involved. It’s great to see it coming together and taking shape, and we are all hugely excited about the summer opening.”
Tom Macklen, Architectural Associate at planning and design consultancy Barton Willmore, who have helped design the exhibit, added: “Barton Willmore is very proud to be part of, and work on, such a prestigious project at Wild Place Project.
“Not only will Bear Wood create a woodland habitat for bears, wolves, lynx and wolverine, but it will also provide an important educational resource for members of the public to learn about the history of our native wildlife and the conservation work of Bristol Zoological Society.”
He added: “It has been a pleasure to work with Dribuild and Wild Place Project on something both challenging and unique, which we hope the public will enjoy for years to come.”
Bear Wood, will cover more than seven and a half acres and all of its buildings are being constructed to blend in with their surroundings.
Woodlands, similar to those at Wild Place Project, covered Britain thousands of years ago but have been steadily cut down for building, housing, fuel, growing crops and making paper. Today such woods cover only two per cent of the country.
This beautiful habitat is home to threatened native species, such as great spotted woodpeckers, tawny owls and hedgehogs and the forest floor is dense with bluebells, snowdrops, orchids, wild garlic and foxgloves.
People are being offered the chance to leave their names at Bear Wood through a Sponsor-a-Plank appeal with special stainless steel plaques which will be mounted on a the raised walkway.
The plaques, measuring 10cm x 3cm (I inch x 3 inches), will be positioned on the side of the planks to provide a lasting link with this unique attraction.
Each plaque costs £75 and has space for 24 characters on each of three lines spelt out in striking black script. There will be just one on each plank but there will be more than 3,000 planks available.
To find out more about Bear Wood, or to sponsor a plank on the new walkway, please visit http://www.wildplace.org.uk/bearwood
Part funded by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development: Europe investing in rural areas. The European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) is contributing towards the costs of fencing for the bear, wolf, wolverine and lynx enclosures.