Timberplay to Rescue the Lost Castle


Records show that 250 years ago there was a ‘Strawberry Castle’ on the National Trust’s Gibside site, however the management team could find no details, images or maps that provide any idea of what it looked like. The only evidence of its existence is in the records of the gardeners and stone masons that were employed to maintain the property and the grounds. So, with no support provided from the archives, Gibside set about reimagining the structure, using designs and ideas from local children and calling upon the services of trusted play supplier, Timberplay, to pull together the best elements of these suggestions into the new Strawberry Castle.

The new Strawberry Castle is likely to be a far more playable structure than the original, with climbing walls, rope bridges, platform huts, ladders and chain paths. General Manager at Gibside, Mick Wilkes, comments on the birth of the new Strawberry Castle:-
“Intuition tells us that Strawberry Castle was probably some sort of Folly, so it is fitting that it is now a feature play structure. The new castle is so popular with our younger visitors, hidden away in beautiful Georgian landscaped gardens. I have been incredibly impressed with the passion that Timberplay demonstrate within their designs, so much so that I am already wholeheartedly committed to using them in any future developments, with sand and water being top of my wish list.”
The Strawberry Castle is accompanied by a Climbing Structure, which utilises hefty timbers and provides varied and challenging play opportunities. This is the first installation of an ongoing play development project, further improvements are due to be made in 2016.

Situated in the North East, Gibside is one of the most popular family National Trust sites, with around 50% of their visitors being families. Play is therefore one of the most important elements of the site – and as such they were keen to work with Timberplay and their German supplier, Richter Spielgeräte.

Timberplay have been trading since 2000 and have worked with many National Trust sites to enhance their play offering. With a strong understanding of working within listed landscapes, Timberplay are able to create bespoke play areas that capitalise on the rich surroundings, blending in and delivering extensive interactive play experiences.

For more information on Timberplay and their equipment and bespoke landscape design service please call 0114 282 3474, visit www.timberplay.com or email info@timberplay.co.uk.