THE new Wicker Man ride at Alton Towers opens to the public for the first time on Saturday. The ground-breaking £16 million attraction is the first wooden rollercoaster to be built in the UK for more than 20 years. Development work on the ride, which stands almost 60 feet tall, has taken four years to complete and involved more than 1,000 workers. Junior reporter and social media expert Hattie Harrison was the 'chosen one' when she grabbed a sneak preview – and the first ride on the Wicker Man - last week.
There has been a huge amount of publicity about the Wicker Man during the past few months as the Towers pins its hopes on a major investment designed to breathe new life into the theme park.
But would the £16 million ride – said to be the first rollercoaster to fuse wood and fire – live up to the hype?
The theme of the attraction features a back story involving the woods around the park, where a mysterious group is said to have emerged with a craving to reconnect with nature.
After developing their own language and belief system, this group known as the Beornen are working towards something – for something.
There’s nothing remarkable about the approach to the ride, which replaces the iconic log flume, but you soon see the ride itself which features a massive human face and a ram’s head.
It looks, already, like an entirely new experience for thrill-seekers with the Wicker Man theme embedded throughout.
Hidden messages from the Beornen can be spotted on pillars near the entrance and on bunting through the queuing area, which itself reflects the effort that the project team has made on getting every detail just right, up to the station plaza.
See the full story inside this week’s Times and Echo newspaper or click here to subscribe online.
We are the only family run, independent newspaper and magazine business in Staffordshire, established 1896. We are home to three weekly newspapers – The Cheadle and Tean Times (aka The Stunner), The Uttoxeter Echo and The Leek & Moorlands Echo.
We also produce Peeps into the Past, a bi-monthly nostalgic glimpse into our photographic archives, and three bi-monthly glossy lifestyle magazines – Stone and Eccleshall Life, Leek Life and Newcastle Life.
T. 01538 752214 or 753162
18 Tape Street, Cheadle, Staffs ST10 1BD
T. 01889 562479
5 Church Street, Uttoxeter, Staffs ST14 8AG (Uttoxeter Office is a postal address only) CURRENT OPENING TIMES
Mon & Tues 9am-11am