This community playground project, situated in the heart of the village of Horsley, Gloucestershire was opened in April 2017 following 7 years of fundraising and consultation exercises to gauge support for the reinvention of the play area and to see what form it should take. The conclusion from these detailed discussions was to create a new, creative, challenging and educative play space, which included play equipment and an environment in which older children could engage in play just as much as the little ones and also a well needed sociable community gathering place, which provided seating, shade and picnic tables, to be shared with the village shop and other visitors.

Greenfields Ltd won the tender to contract the works and Construction started on site in February 2017 by Greenfields Ltd, including tackling the waterlogged site by capturing the spring and seasonal flood water in a dipping pond, creating a habitat for frogs, toads and insects, alongside making a space for muddy play. The large amount of spoil on site was re-modelled into a hill, contained on one side by a 3m high retaining wall defining the kick-about area and topped with a play tower. The old slide was reinstated and natural play logs formed a climbing structure and access way to the top. A zip wire, rope swing and monkey bars, supplied and installed by Playsafe and made from sustainable robinia hardwood formed the main attractions in terms of equipment. A large sand pit with huge logs for balance and sitting on, sourced from the neighbouring woodland, are the essential natural play elements, all set within plantings that include a willow play structure and nut grove.

During the construction period Austin Design Works ran a bug hotel making workshop with the Youth Club and helped with two community planting days sowing wild flowers and constructing the willow tunnel and dome. The playground is also a garden in the making and will continually be added to and enjoyed by the village for years to come.

This October we are celebrating a CPRE Gloucestershire award for the scheme recognising the quality, the community engagement and vitality this project has brought to the centre of the village. This community project would not have been possible without funding from The Veolia Environmental Trust, Gloucestershire Environmental Trust and section 106 funding from Horsley Parish Council.