A new £16 million rollercoaster promises to reconnect riders with the “primal essence of rollercoasters” – as it is the UK’s first wooden rollercoaster built in more than two decades.
Alton Towers’ Wicker Man opens in Spring, with a track length of 2,028ft (618m) and a six-storey-high (57.57ft / 17.55m) flaming Wicker Man.
It is the world’s first rollercoaster experience to fuse wood and fire, as the wooden track will race through the flaming structure of the Wicker Man three times at the theme park in Alton, Staffs.
But it is the rollercoaster’s “multi-sensory” effects that are set to push thrill-seekers to their limits, and the designers promise visitors will “be drawn into the mysterious world of The Beornen, a shadowy group living in the woods surrounding the theme park.”
Bradley Wynne, Creative Lead at Alton Towers Resort said: “We are delighted to finally be announcing Wicker Man as the latest ground-breaking thrill attraction from Alton Towers Resort for 2018.
“Guests will be ‘chosen’ to take part in a celebratory ‘rite of passage’ as they race through the flaming Wicker Man.
“We hope visitors will be blown away by Wicker Man’s breath-taking scale whilst the primal essence of the wooden coaster and astonishing effects will leave them delighted, exhilarated and eager to ride again.”
The project, previously known as ‘SW8’, has been in development for more than four years and is led by Great Coasters International (GCI), the world’s leading creators of wooden rollercoasters – as the ride is set to be the UK’s first new wooden coaster experience in 21 years.
Wood and wicker
Alton Towers says safety of guests has been paramount in the design and build of Wicker Man, incorporating the latest in proven safety technology, rigorous testing and hundreds of training hours for ride operators.
More than 1,000 people will have worked on the project, the majority coming from the local area.
Artwork created by Kyle Lambert – the artist behind the imagery for award-winning show Stranger Things, alongside other Hollywood movie work including Jurassic Park, Super 8 and Jumanji, has been used in the first publicity pictures.
Andy Hine MBE, Chairman of the Roller Coaster Club of Great Britain said: “We’ve been hoping that Alton Towers would invest in a wooden coaster for a long time, and we’re so pleased it’s finally coming with Wicker Man.
“GCI are known for building really exciting, smooth coasters, and this will be a great compliment to the ‘Big Six’ steel rides already at the park.
“It’s a big investment which is great for thrill-seekers everywhere, and I for one can’t wait to ride it.”