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TIMBERPLAY - Life’s a Beach At Riversley Park

Children in Nuneaton, Warwickshire are enjoying the delights of naturally inspired play thanks to Nuneaton and Bedworth Borough Council’s vision to improve an existing play space at Riversley Park and the design from Landscape Architects The Beckett Company. The council has worked closely with a range of partners to install a giant sand pit enhanced with additional natural play structures including those supplied by leading play equipment specialists, Timberplay.

Nuneaton lies at one of the furthest points from the sea in England, but now thanks to the 1000m2 oval sand pit, the children are able to enjoy playing in the sand all year round. The new playground was relocated to a central location in the park, on the site of a former bowling green, by designers keen to feature sand and water in its design. A series of water play features also ensures this exciting new playground, now open to the public, fits in with the historical context of the park and really lives up to its name.

However, when founding father of Riversley Park; Alderman Melly hoped the former river meadows would one day be used to improve the health and recreation of the people of Nuneaton, he can rest-assured, knowing how far designers have gone to realise his dream today. Play specialists such as Timberplay, whole heartedly promote the benefits of natural play for personal wellbeing and most certainly put play back at the heart of the community.

Water is elementary to life, and yet our rivers are no longer as accessible as they were. Playing with water is a favourite activity for most children and the pump and series of wooden gutters installed in the new playground allows children, including those in wheelchairs, to experiment with diverting and damming water and encourages them to co-operate with others to achieve different results.

The council’s called in the expertise of Timberplay to install one of the main components of its play equipment, the timber pyramid tower with its connecting platforms and bridges. Because of its individual shape the pyramid, with its metal tip reflecting the sunlight, provides an eye-catching feature amongst the mature trees of the park, drawing attention to the playground. The climbing wall on the outside and platforms internally enable children to climb up high and look down to the adults on the ground. The 3m high slide is a fun way to descend from the pyramid and the variety of connecting bridges test children’s skills at a variety of levels.

In addition, the playground also includes favourite play items such as swings, slides, see-saws and dish roundabouts, water play, natural logs for climbing and sitting, role play, sand construction with buckets and pulleys all set in a safe sandy bed.

The playground is accessible for adults and youngsters of all ages and abilities with a boardwalk that curves through the middle of the play area and paths that loop around the outside to allow pushchairs and wheelchairs to move throughout. Complimenting the multi sand and water play features, contemporary planting around the playground uses a variety of grasses and plants that will rustle in the breeze and add to the different sensory experiences available within the park.

Nuneaton and Bedworth Borough Council’s commissioning of the play area is proof of their commitment to providing for the local community and the close ties it has with residents. This is highlighted by the fact that members of the Council decided to name the play area ‘Louis’ in memory of 18 year old Fusilier Louis Carter, a soldier from the town who lost his life whilst serving in Afghanistan, and who used to play in Riversley Park as a child.

Sarah Grierson, Landscape Architect at The Beckett Company comments:

“I am delighted that the play area is making such a positive contribution to the park and drawing people from the Borough and beyond. I am particularly pleased at how well the timber pyramid tower sits within the park and can be seen through the trees from many angles encouraging children to investigate it further.”

Martyn Scholey, Sales & Marketing Director of Timberplay emphasises the importance of natural play:

“We take pride in offering something a little out of the ordinary and once again Timberplay continue to push the boundaries of play value to maximise fun and promote the principle that good play provision is about more than just installing kit.

By championing the natural way to play presented by the landscape, we can support the growing number of council’s nationwide, who like NBBC, share our integrated approach to play and use it to encourage increasing visitor numbers to their attractions whilst cherishing local heritage sites.”

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