Cycling through the Trees
Client: Visit Limburg; Team representative: Ward Segers – project manager cycling projects; Photo credits: Visit Limburg and Luc Daelemans.
In Bosland you can cycle through the trees. This cycle path safely takes you into higher realms. Quite literally – because you cycle up to a height of 10 metres between the trees. You can see, feel and smell nature’s splendour. The cycling experience is a cycle path through the crowns of the trees that consists of a sleek double circle with iconic allures. It is located in Bosland, the biggest forest area in Flanders, at junction 272 of the Limburg cycle node network. The path is 700 meters long and gradually rises 3-4% to subsequently descend again after 9 meters. The diameter of the bridge is 100 meters. The cycle path was built in PU coating and steel, supported on narrow corten steel columns (diameter 20 cm) and provided with a railing with a stainless steel net structure. The 450 unique columns are placed alternately at 1, 2 and 3 meters from each other and symbolize the straight trunks of the pine trees. This ensures that the construction blends nicely into the environment. The cycle path width of 3 meters is not a superfluous luxury. This way the cyclist has enough space. To keep the cycling experience pure, road markings and information or focus points on the elevated cycle path were omitted. The construction was connected to the existing cycle route network via a new concrete cycle path. The connection was completed via a roundabout with a corten steel ring on the inside with the necessary information about the project. The accompanying cycle pavillion is made up of two corten steel frames around which trees are stacked like a log. These trees are the trees that were felled to make room for the cycle bridge. The construction of the bicycle bridge had to be done with full respect for the forest, for the subsurface and for the objectives that Bosland has in terms of forest management. That required an ingenious way of working. The construction was prepared as much as possible in the workshop and then assembled on site, like a big puzzle. In the centre of the circle a large building crane of 37 meters high was placed. It stood far above the trees and made it possible to build the entire structure on site. By using a construction crane, we avoided soil compaction and unnecessary logging in the remaining part of the forest. When choosing the construction, the CEC principle of Visit Limburg was taken into account: a Car-free route, full of Experience and Comfortable. The experience is in the interaction with the magnificent nature and in the feeling that you grow with the trees and “float” the higher you get off the ground. As you rise, you experience the forest environment in various ways. And that is the goal of Visit Limburg: creating unique cycling projects that strengthen the landscape experience.