Alton Towers unveils Wicker Man roller coaster

Alton Towers is set to launch a new £16m roller coaster that fuses wood and fire.

The Wicker Man is set on a wooden track and incorporates a six-storey high (17.55 metres) flaming wicker man. It is due to open in Spring this year.

The ride is the first wooden roller coaster to be built in the UK in 21 years and is thought to be the first in the world to blend wood and fire elements. The Staffordshire-based park has been working on the project for more than four years with Great Coasters International, a specialist in wooden roller coasters, leading development.

The track is 618 metres long and riders will travel through the burning wicker man three times during the ride. A press release announcing the attraction states that visitors “will embark on a multi-sensory rite of passage, in which they’ll be drawn into the mysterious world of The Beornen, a shadowy group living in the woods surrounding the theme park”.

Previously known as Secret Weapon 8 (SW8), plans for the ride were first revealed in 2016. It has been the subject of an online marketing campaign with a dedicated website and teaser videos released last year.

A key focus of the development has been safety with the ride undergoing “rigorous testing” and park staff receiving 100 hours of training on how to operate it. Merlin Attractions, Alton Towers’ operator, have intensified their focus on safety since the Smiler accident in 2015, with their Protecting the Magic initiative.

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.”

Images: Alton Towers