Wensum Way playful landscaThis is my first post profiling some of the ‘Playful Landscapes’ I’ve created in the last few years.

Wensum Way play area, on the southern side of the Norfolk market town of Fakenham, is a sloping site surrounded by housing on three sides and private woodland with public access on the fourth. I was commissioned by North Norfolk District Council to design, produce specifications, assist with procurement and project manage the building of the new play area. The budget was £65,000, funded by a combination of money from the Government  Playbuilder  programme and local Housing Associations. The brief was to create a challenging play experience for mainly older children, including teenagers.

The Council carried out consultation exercises with local people, including children, and the findings informed the final design.  Given the size of the site, budget constraints and proximity of housing (some occupied by elderly residents) this project was a challenge, but a combination of keen pricing by the equipment suppliers and landscapers plus use of ‘custom built’ landscape features, has resulted in a varied popular design. This includes turfed mounds and banks of new planting (both provide screening and play value) and a scooped out ‘bowl’ plus a timber-backed ‘performance area’. There is a mixture of standard play/ sports equipment and wooden posts, cubes, timber log slices and logs are all used to ctreatea range of gathering, imaginative and physical play spaces. The design also features a wild flower meadow, areas of longer grass and picnic tables for families visiting the space. The project was completed in June 2010.

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