Playspace News – March 2017 Newsletter

Inclusion: The Heart of the Playscape Project

Taking a lead from the Village children (who insist on using the skateramp as one mighty challenge to run up and down!) the playscape scheme seeks to provide a landscape for everyone to enjoy and to interpret in their own way.

Inclusion is a driving principle for us. Vaila, one of our trustees, knows just how important this is as her 6 year-old daughter Eilidh has developmental disabilities and is a wheelchair user. You might think Vaila would be requesting lots of wheelchair equipment, but actually she’s far more passionate about inclusive design that both her 6 year old and 3 year old can enjoy. Sadly there’s nothing that Eilidh can use in the park right now without being lifted and carried, even the sandpit, which she loves, means being lifted down a big step.

“In the playscape proposals, there are lots of elements Eilidh will be able to access, including the trampolines, the wide slide, the sand pit and she’ll love being able to scramble around over the grassy mounds!” explains Vaila.

And good inclusive design really does mean something for everyone:

“A low hammock-style swing is a great example of an inclusive design. Eilidh can do an assisted standing transfer from her wheelchair, no lifting necessary, and this same swing can be used by a gaggle of toddlers, some rough-housing 7 year olds and a civilised chat between teenage friends, not to mention the opportunity for us grown ups to have a more sedate, meditative, swing gazing up at the clouds!”
Picture of hammock swings
So although we will be seeing new equipment on the rec we’re taking a much more holistic approach that will benefit everyone. This approach of course takes time as the design is bespoke and requires longer consultations and of course planning permission. However, the Architects are now working on the detailed design of the top play area and we are looking forward to applying for planning permission soon.

Going down the Architecture route has opened up areas (literally!) that we couldn’t have conceived of on our own. It’s provoked a re-think of “who plays where” (A: everyone is welcome everywhere!) but also inspired better access with a new pedestrian entrance and some extended parking which we are delighted the Parish Council has pledged to pay for.

Further reading:

COPSE PROJECT UPDATE – NB rescheduled dates

4th March: SSYI to start on the Willow Den
18th March, 10am – 4pm: Planting shrubs & wildflowers, volunteers welcome! Contact Eleanor


  1. Dr E M Tucker | 4th March 2017 at 11:48 am

    Now that the markings are in place near the copse a number of people who use the recreation ground every day are concerned that It will be spoilt by being turned into an organised park rather than left as the natural village amenity it has always been. Who is going to maintain it and clear up all the litter that will inevitably accrue in the picnic area? Wild flower areas will be difficult to keep under control year after year and be trampled on by all the dogs that enjoy the area. This may then lead to restriction notices going up and making it even more urbanised. Would it not be better to wait until hopefully the Grange field is purchased where there is already an ancient natural wild flower meadow?

    • Eleanor McCrone | 12th March 2017 at 11:04 am

      The recreation ground has, by its very nature, always been “organised” and has had a varied past, indeed some still remember the diving board and swim changing rooms down by the river. This area has evolved into a more natural space in recent years and we simply want to nurture it and keep it open for all to use: adding more native trees, shrubs and meadows gives nature a firm foothold there. The village has been well consulted on this and the majority are enthusiastically in favour of this approach.

      The PC is well equipped to maintain the recreation ground as a whole: their contractors are capable of cutting a meadow and extra litter bins will be situated in that area.

      Also, we are not fans of lots of “keep out” signs either! This is an experiment: the plants that can tough it out will survive, plus the SSYI want to be involved with this project long term so it’s something we can return to each year. If the Grange Field does become part of the recreation ground that will be wonderful, but for now the wild flowers we encourage by the river are our best bet and look set to be a wonderful sight in spring and summer.

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