The National Trust’s Belton House have recently opened their brand new expansive play area, giving young visitors the opportunity to let off some steam on a wide variety of challenging and exciting equipment, set within a wild setting.
A classic English country house sitting in beautiful grounds, Belton House is a key National Trust site in Lincolnshire. In order to revitalise the existing play space, Belton House undertook a 2 phase programme; to retain play features which were still valid while boosting the play value of the site significantly with carefully selected equipment and playful landscaping elements. Timberplay were delighted to be selected to contribute to this scheme, with a wide variety of equipment.
Belton House is unique within the National Trust in that it boasts the largest Adventure Playground of any of their sites and they were keen to preserve this.
Play Manager, Leonora Harbord comments on the value of the play facility within Belton House:“The Adventure Playground is an integral part of the offer for around 40% of Belton’s visitors, so it was essential that we did not lose this significant visitor group – indeed we sought to increase it with the investment. The play area may well be the first interaction that many children have with the National Trust, and our aspiration is that from this foundation, the children will grow to enjoy more of the National Trust experience, engaging with the natural landscapes and estate land and making a connection with the significance of these places.”
Toddlers can explore the play houses and train or picnic with the Duck Family, whereas older children and teenagers can let off some steam with high energy equipment such as the Queen Swing, Giant Revolving Disc and Climbing Structure.
The Gravel Play area has a wide appeal, with products provided to enable children to manipulate and transport the gravel via hoists, chutes, sand wheels and even an excavator. Similarly, extensive waterplay delights children across a wide age range with a Playground Pump, channels, wedges and wheels. The design was also flexible enough to incorporate last minute adjustments, with the inclusion of a Forest Fountain, a variety of timber posts that spray water via different spray heads when children use the associated pump. And as well as the sound of children laughing and playing, the play space is also alive with the sounds of musical play equipment, the Sound Cushions and Stone Xylophone.
Project Manager for the National Trust, Ali Keightley comments on the success of the scheme:“It has been amazing to see the play area take off with our visitors. Although we picked the Climbing Structure and Queen Swing with teenagers in mind, they are actually used by a wide range of children. And as they are such large pieces they can accommodate large numbers of children at any one time. And of course the water play has been a big success, but what has surprised us that it has been just as popular with the children in the rain as in the sunshine, although maybe not quite so popular with the parents.”
The overall contract for Belton House was awarded to Blue Forest, and Timberplay equipment was used heavily throughout the designs.