Serious fun planned for new Sherwood play area – Community Consultation

Youngsters and parents are being asked to share their ideas on play equipment to help shape an exciting new play area at Sherwood Forest, which will be built alongside the new visitor centre opening next summer.

Award-winning playground design and build company, Infinite Playgrounds, who have created cutting edge educational play areas across the country, will be leading the consultation, having been chosen to provide the new playground by the RSPB-led consortium responsible for the new Visitor Centre Robert Woodhead Limited are currently delivering.

The event will be held in the activity room in the current visitor centre of Wednesday, October 25 from 10.30am-12.30pm and 1.30-3.30pm.

Rachel Wheeler, RSPB’s education, families and youth manager, said partners had been impressed with the company’s previous work, and are excited by the prospect of what they will come up with for Robin Hood’s home.

“They have a really imaginative approach to design, and have previously designed and made some great examples of playgrounds in other forests and country parks.

“Our vision for the playground is one based on the Robin Hood legend, made largely of wood, which will sit very comfortably in this wonderful woodland setting.

“The consultation is about finding out what its end users will want from it – to learn from the local children and families who visit the forest frequently about how they like to play, and what pieces of equipment they would like to see.

“Infinitive Playgrounds obviously have some great ideas already, and we’re really keen to see what members of the public will bring to the project through the consultation.”

Sam McGeever, creative director at the North Shields-based company, will be attending the consultation along with chainsaw artist, Sandy Inkster, who produces sculptural pieces which complement the play equipment.

“We are absolutely delighted to be working at Sherwood Forest,” he said. “Inspired by the natural environment, our unique approach is to work with and mimic nature to provide a natural place where children of all ages can gain a healthy sense of the world.

“We are looking forward to hearing the ideas of the local community and turning imagination into tangible play sculptures. With a landscape and rich history as wonderful as Sherwood Forest’s, we’re confident this one will be something to shout about.”

The event will include some outline ideas for children and their carers to comment on as well as some examples of play equipment used at other sites, to see what’s preferred.

The current playground sits within the area of the forest designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest, as does the current visitor centre, which is why both are being relocated to Forest Corner.

Funding for the new area is being provided by Nottinghamshire County Council.

Councillor Gordon Wheeler, vice chairman for the community and place committee, said: “The new visitor centre will be a major investment for this world-famous country park.

“As part of this much-awaited development, a new play area will be a welcome addition, thanks to £40,000 worth of funding from the county council, specifically allocated to help improve facilities in the local community.

“I would certainly encourage the local people to go along to the event and have their say on how the new play area should look.”

The consortium responsible for the new visitor centre, which is being delivered by Edwinstowe based Robert Woodhead Limited is led by RSPB, in partnership with Nottinghamshire County Council, and includes Sherwood Forest Trust, Continuum Attractions, Thoresby Estate and new associate partners, The Woodland Trust.  The project was procured through the Scape Venture Framework.

More information about the new visitor centre project is available at www.visitsherwood.co.uk

Image: Credit, JDDK Architects.