Great Notley Country Park

Great Notley Country Park in Braintree, Essex, called in Timberplay to create a play trail – thereby increasing the visitors to the park three-fold within less than 12 months.

With 100 acres within the park, and £300,000 to invest, the management team at Great Notley wanted play equipment that would attract more visitors, inspire children, create a buzz and promote health and fitness.

After consultations with Timberplay, the park decided on the installation of a play trail rather than a single designated play area. The equipment is spread around the park, creating a 1 mile circular play trail walk.

It incorporates a variety of equipment, including a Climbing Forest and a Large Climbing Frame.

The innovative Queen Swing has been a key attraction: three adjoining tyre swings that move both independently and in relation to each other, promoting social interaction between swing users.

The play trail is also very inclusive, catering for all abilities with challenging physical equipment as well as pieces that provide sensory stimulation.

A Jack Straw See-Saw, which is a seemingly ad-hoc arrangement of beams, acts as a multisided see-saw, accommodating up to 30 children.

Four pieces of sensory equipment were included, the wind pipes and wind pump, telephones, a stroking frog and sounding stone, to provide alternative opportunities for play.

Prior to the installation of the play space vistors were in the region of around 30,000 per annum although full records were not maintained. Throughout 2008-2009 vistiors increased to around 88,000 and this growth has been maintained.

Great Notley is now the destination park it set out to become, with visitors travelling from as far as Outer London, Harlow, Colchester, Chelmsford and Brentwood to use the facilities. Estimated dwell time in the park has also increased from 1 to 3 hours.

Tim Dixon, Head of Country Parks, Essex County Council commented;

“I am delighted that the playground is doing everything we hoped it would do and more. The kids are motivating the adults to explore the park, using the equipment as a stimulus but discovering the beauty and landscape of the park along the way.

The Timberplay equipment has been very well received, particularly the seesaw platform, which involves whole families playing, communicating and interacting with each other. The Notley Park success is a great example of how investing in play really pays off!”

  • Great Notley Country Park
    • Braintree
    • United Kingdom
    • CM77 7FS