active play

Natural play area launches at Hever Castle

A NEW play area has opened at Hever Castle, the former home of Anne Boleyn in Kent.

Aimed at children under the age of seven, Acorn Dell has been designed by FRLA to allow children to freely explore and use their imagination. Features of the natural play area include a 2m high living willow structure, a giant sandpit, a mound with three tunnels to clamber in and a climbing frame. Located in the trees are two lookout platforms linked by a clatter bridge and with a slide for making a quick escape.

The new play area aims to blend in with the Tudor Towers adventure playground, which opened last summer for seven to 14 years olds, with the built in seating area for parents made up of curved oak benches topped with castellations.

The natural theme of Acorn Dell play area is reflected in the grasses, ferns and lavender which will surround the site.

The new play area will complement the current facility for the under fives with its swings, slide and climbing frame. Parents and carers will also be catered for with a new refreshment area featuring a crenellated kiosk made from a former shipping container.

From adventure playgrounds that reflect the country’s rich history to naturally-inspired play spaces, we look at some of the latest play projects.

Exploring the ages at Rufford Abbey

A NEW adventure playground has opened at Rufford Abbey Country Park in Nottinghamshire following an investment of circa £350,000. Funded and developed by Nottinghamshire

County Council, which owns the park, and Parkwood Outdoors, which has operated the site since February 2017, the revamped play space explores the ages, from the Tudors through to Shakespeare. The historically themed play area occupies

approximately 3,000sq m and has been designed for children aged three and above. It incorporates historical details associated with past kings, queens and other important figures. These include an Edward VI inspired oversized

throne, which has been designed following research into the boy king, and a ship-themed climbing frame reflecting the age of pirates and seafaring which took place under the reign of Queen Elizabeth I. The pathway leads to the Globe

amphitheatre that lies opposite a family refreshment area. Free to use, the adventure playground also features tunnels and netting, inspired by the priest holes of King Henry VIII’s reign. These surround a large climbing rock that offers views of Rufford Abbey and the entire play area. 37

Images: Hever Castle & Gardens

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