Wicker Man Info & Stats
The world’s first rollercoaster experience to fuse wood and fire, riders will race along 2028ft of track through a giant, flaming Wicker Man who stands at 57.57ft – six stories high. Guests 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.
Costing £16 million, more than 1000 people have worked on the project which has been more than 4 years in development and will be the UK’s first new wooden rollercoaster experience in 21 years, reconnecting riders with the primal essence of rollercoasters.
Secret Weapon 8 is set to be the latest in Alton Towers Resort’s Secret Weapon canon of rides – a series of attractions which are renowned for their unique features and which become iconic, signature rides.
The first signs of Secret Weapon 8 appeared back in March and April 2015 when Alton Towers Resort submitted a request for a Formal Screening Option for an attraction based in Forbidden Valley ‘nearby Nemesis’. Documents submitted with the application described a ride of ‘timber truss construction’ which would have included three high points, tunnels to help mitigate any noise, and a station and pre-show building. These documents led many to speculate that, after many years of waiting, the Resort may finally be investing in the wooden rollercoaster which many enthusiasts had been hoping for. However, due to a number of factors these plans were later dismissed by the Resort.
At the end of February 2016, the Resort confirmed the retirement of The Flume, the popular water ride which had been at the Resort since 1981, to make way for ‘an exciting new development’, prompting rumours that the location on which The Flume resided was being considered as a potential site for Secret Weapon 8. Sure enough, on March 16th 2016, the first official confirmation that SW8 would be located on the former site of The Flume came in the form of a simple tweet from the Towers Loving Care Twitter account.
With confirmation of the location of the next Secret Weapon Coaster speculation began about exactly what kind of attraction would join the likes of Nemesis, Oblivion and The Smiler in the Secret Weapon Canon. On April 21st 2016 the Resort submitted documents to Staffordshire Moorlands District Council requesting a Screening Opinion for a new attraction which would occupy the former Flume site. Detailed was a new rollercoaster which would include a station located to the north east area of Mutiny Bay, maintenance building, shop, pre-show, games unit and a food kiosk. Plans showed a track layout which would encompass much of the former Flume area and include a turn just behind the Congo River Rapids in Katanga Canyon, as well as showing three theming features, one of which would be on the former location of the Flume’s station. On 10th May 2016 Staffordshire Moorlands Council determined that no Environmental Statement wuold be required for the new development, paving the way for the formal planning application to be submitted later that month.
Rumours about the ride’s name and theme first surfaced in January 2017 when a construction worker posted on social media that they were working on a “Wicker Man Ride” at the Resort. This post was later removed with the Resort making no official comment on the matter.
With construction in full swing, the Resort updated the branding surrounding the construction site to coincide with National Rollercoaster Day on 16th August 2017, introducing a series of runes and the tagline ‘Be Chosen’ with the promise of a link between the new Scarefest scare maze and SW8. On 25th August 2017, TowersTimes revealed via Facebook that a European Trademark had been filed by Lane IP for the name “Wicker Man” to be used in categories associated with theme park attractions. A logo in similar style to those used in recent SW8 marketing was also uploaded as part of the application leading to a significant amount of speculation that the name for SW8 might have been uncovered.
On 8th January 2018, Alton Towers unearthed Wicker Man as Secret Weapon 8, confirming the speculation of the previous months.
|Opens:||17th March 2018|
|Area:||The Flume site|
|Manufacturer:||Great Coasters International|
|Ride Cost||£16 million|
|Ride Type:||Wooden Rollercoaster|
|Ride Length:||2,028 feet / 618 metres|
|Ride Height:||22 metres (approx.)|
|Wicker Man Height:||57.57 feet / 17.55 metres|
|Ride Trains:||3 Millennium Flyers|
|Riders per Train:||24|
|Min. Rider Height:||1.20 metres|
|Max. Rider Height:||1.88 metres|
|Features:||Enclosed preshow area
Wicker Man structure