Friday 4 February 2005

Fantasy Treehouse Adds More Magic To Grounds of Hogwarts

Today sees the opening of a multi-million pound tourist attraction which is reminiscent of the Elven Kingdom Rivendell in fantasy film Lord of the Rings. The £3.3 million treehouse in Alnwick Garden is the latest project in the Duchess of Northumberland's ambitious plans to transform the derelict gardens in the castle grounds. The turret-topped, wooden 'tree village' presents a fantasy playground for children on a huge scale.

One of the largest buildings of its kind in existence, the treehouse was built between 16 giant lime trees and houses 4,000 sq ft of satellite walkways suspended up to 60ft in the air. The Duchess of Northumberland said: "This incredible treehouse shows that The Alnwick Garden is more than a garden. Access and activity for those with disabilities was also at the heart of our Treehouse design. Regardless of their ability, children should be encouraged to get outdoors and appreciate nature. "Many children now have less opportunity to play than any other generation. We have wonderful plans to expand our 'safely dangerous' play facilities. The idea is to provide a challenge, and include elements of risk, so that you help children better equip themselves for the future. And why shouldn't the less able-bodied, of all ages, go high up and see life from the trees?"

The treehouse boasts a reception area, shop, cafˇ, resource rooms and loos with views into the tree canopy. Parts of the treehouse are also available for hire for children's parties and other occasions. For more information, please see

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This fourth edition of the bdaily xtra looks into some of the issues connected with the regional assembly and asks whether it is capable of bridging the divide between the rich and poor regions of England... more >