Opened in March of 2018, Wicker Man is the first wooden coaster to be built in the UK in 21 years and the first ever wooden coaster to be built at Alton Towers. When SW8 (projects at Alton Towers are given codenames, SW standing for Secret Weapon) was announced, it ignited considerable curiosity, especially when it became known that this coaster would incorporate the element of fire. The result of a £16,000,000 investment, it was designed by Merlin Entertainments and manufactured by GCI (Great Coasters International).
Layout and Theming
Wicker Man is themed after fire and a mythical wood-dwelling pagan community called the Beornen led by the spirit of the Wicker Man. The Wicker Man effigy, featuring a ram’s head on one side, forms the centerpiece of the ride. Before reaching the loading platform those in the ride queue enter a small area in which a pre-ride presentation takes place. Without any warning the lights go out and you find yourself looking up at a video screen, watching and listening to a rather ominous preamble to the ride. It begins with the Beornen intoning “Welcome, the chosen few” and goes on to say that the Wicker Man will rise and give them freedom but in order to begin this ritual they must first give him a gift and “That gift is you.” Final words to the sacrificial offerings are “Let the ceremony commence.”
This coaster features a twisting layout with roughly parallel sections of track and operates with trains seating two across in twelve rows for a total capacity of 24 riders. The restraint is a lap bar.