A classic English country house sitting in beautiful grounds, Belton House is a key National Trust site in Lincolnshire.
In order to revitalise the existing play space, Belton House undertook a 2-phase programme; to retain play features which were still valid while boosting the play value of the site significantly with carefully selected equipment and playful landscaping elements.
Belton House is unique within the National Trust in that it boasts the largest adventure playground of any of their sites and they were keen to preserve this.
Play Manager, Leonora Harbord comments on the value of the play facility within Belton House:
“The Adventure Playground is an integral part of the offer for around 40% of Belton’s visitors, so it was essential that we did not lose this significant visitor group – indeed we sought to increase it with the investment. The play area may well be the first interaction that many children have with the National Trust, and our aspiration is that from this foundation, the children will grow to enjoy more of the National Trust experience, engaging with the natural landscapes and estate land and making a connection with the significance of these places.”
The design for the playscape included a variety of equipment from Timberplay, carefully selected for users from the very young through to teenagers and beyond. Toddlers can explore the play houses and train or picnic with the Duck Family, whereas older children and teenagers can let off some steam with high energy equipment such as the Queen Swing, Giant Revolving Disc and Climbing Structure.
The Gravel Play area has a wide appeal, with products provided to enable children to manipulate and transport the gravel via hoists, chutes, sand wheels and even an excavator.
Similarly, extensive waterplay delights children across a wide age range with a Playground Pump, channels, wedges and wheels. The design was also flexible enough to incorporate last minute adjustments, with the inclusion of a Forest Fountain, a variety of timber posts that spray water via different spray heads when children use the associated pump.
And as well as the sound of children laughing and playing, the play space is also alive with the sounds of musical play equipment, the Sound Cushions and Stone Xylophone.
The overall contract for Belton House was awarded to Blue Forest, but Timberplay equipment was used heavily throughout the designs.
The play area has now enjoyed its first summer season and as expected, the water play has gone down a storm. Visitor numbers have soared, the latest figures show that a staggering 148,000 people have visited since the playground opened in April (up to end of August).
Project Manager for the National Trust, Ali Keightley comments on the success of the scheme:
“It has been amazing to see the play area take off with our visitors. Although we picked the Climbing Structure and Queen Swing with teenagers in mind, they are actually used by a wide range of children – although in a slightly different way. And as they are such large pieces they can accommodate large numbers of children at any one time. And of course the water play has been a big success, but what has surprised us is that it has been just as popular with the children in the rain as in the sunshine, although maybe not quite so popular with the parents."
"The Timberplay team were highly efficient, working well alongside the other installation team to install their equipment. As you can imagine, the site sees some heavy use over the summer months and the Timberplay equipment has proved itself to be extremely durable and robust.”