St Ann’s Park, Hove

Known locally as ‘Squirrel Park’, St Ann’s Park is well wooded with many mature trees and is managed in part for conservation and wildlife.

The development of the play area sought to uphold the strong wildlife element of the park, encouraging children to gain more of an understanding of the conservation work which is continually underway. The theme for the space was identified as ‘The Gruffalo’ early on, as it upheld the aspirations and values of the park.

Timberplay responded to the brief with a varied and challenging natural play space which reflects the narrative of the Gruffalo, incorporating the habitats of the various animals featured in the story, the Owl, the Snake and of course the Gruffalo.

With the addition of several trees to add shade, colour and interest to the play area, Timberplay sought to create the heavy wooded feel of the story. A suggested trail leads the child with a hop, skip and a jump over boulders and musical cushions to the Owl’s Treehouse (an elevated Tower Combination with slide). Here you can climb up into the treehouse and experience a great treetop vantage point and then slide back down to the ground. A network of mounds creates a Woodland Avenue which children can explore, run through and clamber over to find the Log Pile house.

Sand play has been used heavily throughout the scheme, with an Owl sand play area and a large concrete edged sand area in a shape that looks suspiciously like….it couldn’t be….a Gruffalo footprint.

Consultation was a key part of the process, with representatives from Brighton & Hove Parks & Green Spaces team working closely with local children to ensure the brief presented the changes they wanted to see in the park. The most popular request was for equipment that presented a greater challenge and risk.

Equipment was carefully selected to keep to the woodland theme, with a feature Climbing Forest blending in with the surrounding landscape. This extensive piece of kit is just the thing for challenging children, supporting their physical development and helping sharpen their balance, negotiation, social interaction and build their confidence as they plot their way from one end to the other. It is also an unbeatable piece of kit for accommodating many children at any one time. A Slide and Rotating Disc provides no end of twirling and sliding fun.

Landscaping was a very important factor for this site, with mounds and planting used liberally throughout to create an undulating playful landscape.

Rob Dumbrill, Parks Project Manager at Brighton & Hove Council comments:-
“With the help of Timberplay we were able to design an exciting play area that offers young people the opportunity to be part of a woodland story within an urban setting. The play area is much loved and very well used by local residents and visitors across the city, offering them a fun play experience.”

  • St Ann’s Park, Hove
    • BN3 1RP
    • BN3 1RP