Crow Wood Playscape
Crow Wood Playscape can be found at one of the National Trusts most famous estates; Lyme Park near Disley, Cheshire. This was also the location for the BBC adaptation of Pride & Prejudice (the one where Darcy jumps into the pond). Sitting on the edge of the Peak District the formidable house, estate and gardens attract 300,000 visitors per year and the National Trust were keen to create something special, innovative and sympathetic to the woodland setting whilst representing the best of natural play. They hoped that this would fortify their ongoing community engagement program, as well as enhancing the Timber Yard which houses the gift shop, coffee shop and children’s workshop.
Designing the Playscape:
The National Trust recruited RHS Gold Medal and BBC People’s Choice Award Winning Landscape Architects Davies White Ltd. Directors Adam White and Andrée Davies rose to the challenge of the hilly woodland landscape, embracing the natural landform to create a destination Playscape in North West of England.
As a Site of Special Scientific Interest and a Historic Landscape the siting and layout of the playscape was of critical importance. The design engagement process was key to developing a strong robust brief. This stage of the project was led by local environmental trust Groundwork Cheshire who also took on the role of Project Managers.
The resulting Playscape is inspired by the children’s aspirations for an exciting adventurous play space within the rugged setting of Crow Wood. Divided by a central path the Playscape has a high area based around the concept of birds flying high. Features include a giant willow nest, a two metre wide slide, stepping logs, rope ramps and five twelve metre high bespoke pyramid towers connected by a suspended treetop walkway.
The lower area is based around woodland mammals and features giant willow eggs, a Badger sett and connecting tunnels, decking walkway, talking tubes, woodland house, swings, climbing trees, sand digger and giant tree house wrapping around an old Horse Chestnut tree. The tree house features two fireman’s poles, large viewing area, ramp access and cedar clad roof providing an ideal gathering spot for groups and shelter from wind and rain.
Following a competitive tendering process Visible Changes Ltd were appointed as the main landscape contractors. Hillan & Hunter Carpenters were then appointed as their sub contractors tasked with constructing the bespoke tree house and Timberplay Ltd as the sole supplier of the play equipment. The tree top towers were so big they couldn’t be constructed in the woodland and the contractors had to recruit the British International Helicopter team to fly up from Penance and lift and lower the towers in the wood using their Sikorsky helicopter. The whole event was captured on film and now features in the Crow Wood Playscape short film.
For more information on Lyme Park please visit www.nationaltrust.org.uk/lyme.
- Crow Wood Playscape
- Lyme Park
- United Kingdom
- SK12 2NR