Alton Towers reveals Wicker Man rollercoaster

Alton Towers has announced its new “world first” attraction – the Wicker Man – which it hopes will exhilarate visitors on a “breath-taking scale”.

The Staffordshire theme park claims the £16m project is the first wooden rollercoaster to be built in the UK for 21 years and the first such ride to combine wood and fire.

A 58ft wicker man will appear to burst into flames as riders race through the structure three times on a 2,028ft wooden track.

The rollercoaster, which shares its name with the 1970s horror film starring Christopher Lee, is due to open to visitors in the spring.

Alton Towers' new Wicker Man rollercoaster will feature a six-storey flaming structure

Image: The ride will open to visitors in the spring

Bradley Wynne, the theme park’s creative lead, said: “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.”

Andy Hine, the 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.”

Alton Towers said “the safety of guests has been paramount” in building the ride, which has involved “rigorous testing and hundreds of training hours for ride operators”.

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The theme park’s operator Merlin Attractions was fined £5m for a “catastrophic failure” of health and safety rules over an incident on its Smiler rollercoaster in 2015 when two carriages collided.

Vicky Balch, then 19, and Leah Washington, then 17, both lost a leg after the collision which injured 16 people.