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Walkway Installation at Ely Cathedral


The Client

Ely Cathedral spans across 46,000 square feet of Cambridgeshire countryside and welcomes over 250,000 visitors each year. The Cathedral’s origins are around 672 AD, with the current structure dating back to around 1083, and so the building requires restorative work to ensure the structure is safe and the history of the building is preserved. The site receives funding from English Heritage due to it’s age and history, as well as benefiting from donations from the voluntary contributions to secure the future of the Cathedral.

Heightsafe were enlisted by Thomas Ford and Partners – Architects that specialise in transforming historic environments through building conservation – to install walkway systems on the top of both the Octagon and the West Tower, so that those carrying out vital restorative works would be safe whilst doing so.

Ely Cathedral Heightsafe Walkway System

The Brief

The Octagon tower stands at 52 meters, and the West tower is 66 meters high; and both must have a means for workers to access the tops of the structures for maintenance works to be carried out. The solution provided mustn’t visually impair the building and stand out due to the nature of the site, so minimising the impact of the systems were important for aesthetic purposes.

The walkways required must fit to the shape of the towers and feature many turns and angles to the walkways. There was also the need for a guardrail system along one side of the walkway, as well as gates to allow access to the doorways leading to the roofs.

Ely Cathedral Walkway Heightsafe

The Solution

Our team worked hard to ensure everything from the design of the system to the delivery of the product via crane was done to perfection. The systems were delivered to the roofs via crane and installed by our experts. In fact, the project has been extended due to falcons using the smaller roof as a nesting place; and so our team initially only completed the walkway and guardrail system on the larger roof, before returning more recently to complete the smaller roof works.

The walkways were levelled to allow for the pitched roof they would be installed upon, and due to them being made from aluminium they will provide a lightweight, strong, permanent solution for our client.

Ely Cathedral Walkways Heightsafe

The Outcome

The two roofs now have fully accessible and safe areas for their operatives to work and do so in a safe manner. The gates allow access onto the walkway, and then close to form part of the guardrail around the centre.

Heightsafe fully tested all systems to ensure compliance and give peace of mind to those using them that they have been inspected by professionals. The architects can now continue to work on restoring and preserving the historic structure and ensure it is still in working order for many more visitors to the site.

Ely Cathedral Self-closing gate Heightsafe

Do You Require a Roof Walkway Solution?

Whether you have a flat roof, pitched roof, or have other obstacles that require a solution to manoeuvre around, Heightsafe can provide a system that will cater to your needs. Contact us today to discuss your requirements.

Last Updated: 29th September 2021

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