Children from Brookside Primary School, High Lane, Nr Stockport got
to try out the National Trustís new Crow Wood Playscape at Lyme Park
when it officially opened in October giving it full marks.
The Playscape which includes equipment from Sheffield based Timberplay, is an innovative new way to encourage children to create their own play and shape it within and around the natural landscape. From a bespoke tree house, interconnecting timber and rope walkways, to tunnels, a giant slide and huge badger set, the Playscape offers limitless scope for imaginations to run wild, and provides a place for children to explore, discover and be challenged, as David Morgan, general manager of Lyme Park, said:
"The whole idea behind the Playscape project was to provide a natural space which could become a play area with a difference. These days, many children simply don't have enough access to the outdoors and environment around us - which is a basic part of growing up. Crow Wood Playscape is somewhere where children can simply play, use their imaginations creatively, take acceptable levels of risk, challenge one another, and, most of all, have a really enjoyable time."
Thanks to a £250,000 grant from WREN, a not for profit business that awards grants to community projects across the UK on behalf of Waste Recycling Group (WRG), work to construct the Playscape began in Crow Wood in late spring. From then on, visitors to Lyme Park could only wonder at the hive of activity taking place in this usually quiet part of the estate as the Playscape gradually took shape. Construction however was not without its own memorable moments, as Sara Burdett, the Trust's project co-ordinator recalls:
"At one point we had to call on the services of a giant Sikorsky helicopter which normally flies between Lands End and the Scilly Isles. The helicopter was the only way we could transport four massive pyramid timber towers, each twelve metres high and which form part of the playscape's structure - into their positions in Crow Wood. Their size, weight, and where they needed to be on the hillside made it impossible to use anything else. Luckily everything went according to plan."
"Crow Wood Playscape started with ideas from families and our local community. We asked them what they wanted and how they wanted it - so the themes, features and challenges of the Playscape truly reflect the aspirations of our visitors young and old, which they can now enjoy. Following a series of consultations with Access groups we've also ensured that the Playscape is accessible - so it really is a great adventure for everyone."
Peter Cox, managing director of WREN, said he was delighted that Crow Wood was ready to open: "WREN is committed to funding projects that make a real difference to local communities, children and families. The Crow Wood Playscape will provide a fantastic space for local people to get outdoors and have some fun. We're delighted to support the National Trust and Groundwork to make this happen and look forward to the opening of the project later this month."
Environmental charity Groundwork Cheshire worked to design and deliver the Crow Wood Playscape project in conjunction with chartered landscape architects DW Design. Visible Changes Ltd landscape contractors constructed the Playscape, along with Hillan and Hunter specialist carpenters and Timberplay play equipment providers.
Crow Wood Playscape is open daily throughout the year, 8am - 6pm (closed Christmas Day). Normal park admission applies.