It has been over 20 years since Hurst Green’s children’s park last had a major face-lift. As part of the Hurst Green to 2030 initiative, the Parish Council are working to rejuvenate the children’s park.
In August 2023, the Council announced that the tender process for new recreation ground equipment had concluded and that they have now secured funds and appointed a new supplier and are currently in the process of confirming dates for when the work can start.
The new design maintains an Infant and Junior area, and is a bespoke interactive and imaginative design that combines the function of a multi storey castle themed structure with the experience of adventure play equipment and unique interactive details. The design draws its inspiration from our surrounding medieval landscape and its history with Alfred the Great, using castle and fort shaped structures throughout the design.
In the infant area, the existing train, springers, and multi-unit will be removed. The bench will be re-sited nearer to the perimeter fence.
The bespoke design of the castle with trees has been directly inspired by Hurst Green School pupils’ drawings. It is designed to have a visual connection to the structures in the junior area, through the association with a fort using fort shape turrets. It is a multi-unit that offers a range of play options and challenges. It gives a choice of motor play, problem-solving and spatial awareness.
There is a range of access points using steppingstones, a tunnel, balance beam, ladder, slide, ramp climbing post. These can be used for infant ages of 2-6 years, independently, in groups and with a chaperon.
The bespoke design is one that keeps the unit open for being able to view and explore across one level which evokes a sense of wonder to the landscape. There is a range of exploring apparatus such as climbing net, balance beam and bridge.
The tractor will stand in the area previously occupied by the train. It links with the agricultural imagery of the surrounding landscape as well as offering imaginative play options for individuals and groups. It can also be used as a bench for resting.
The Hurst Green ‘Fort with Zip Wire’ design proposal has been directly inspired by the pupils of Hurst Green. It consists of four towers connected by battlements and walkways. A ramp from the ground level takes you to the upper level and connects all the towers together, giving wheelchair access to the whole upper level. Two towers are fort/castle inspired, another is in the form of a giant tree and the fourth is a form of a giant nest, it is a fusion of fortifications with nature built in timber.
The design has a natural and organic aesthetic to blend into the landscape whilst giving an imaginative and sculptural approach to a large-scale play structure. The inside of the castle walls and tree tunnels will host a range of puzzles, wall textures, rotating puzzles, mirrors and talk tubes.
This is suitable for all abilities and will aid sensory experiences for the users to add further engagement with the space. It has many play values from ramps, ladders, fire fighters’ pole, slide, climbing wall, climbing net, climbing poles, tunnels, bridges, and towers. It offers a maze of spaces and opportunity for motor play; it can be used by groups or individuals and gives many options for role play. One tower has a throne with seats inside to promote social and imaginative play.
The turret and tunnel structures have an architectural ornamentation with gargoyles and grotesques designed by local pupils which will be pre-fabricated. The tree shape tower is more organic and adorned by wildlife also designed by the local pupils. The boardwalk connects directly onto the zip wire launch platform, giving access directly from the castle to the zip wire. Zip wire is positioned parallel to the hedge at the side of the field.
Could you be the change? Fancy being part of a group of volunteers who will work together to devise and create something amazing, please do send us your details via the volunteer interest form.
The new park was inspired by designs made by the children of Hurst Green school. Each child was given a printed certificate of civic participation, and a winner was chosen from each of the school’s classes. The winners each received a certificate and an amazon voucher. Local residents were also able to download an activity kit worksheet to help the Council design the perfect park.