Belhus Woods Country Park

Essex County Council

Belhus Woods Country Park


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A unique combination of music, rhythm, performance and play in an urban country park

Belhus Woods Country Park measures over 300 acres and is made up of ancient woodland, working woods, wildflower meadows, open grassland, public fishing lakes and conservation lakes.  The park enables local residents from urban settings to experience valuable green open spaces that connect them to the local natural environment. 

In order to support the Council’s corporate objectives, Essex County Council (ECC) sought to increase footfall to the park through attracting visitors from further afield, increasing regularity of visits to the park and increasing visitors’ length of stay.   Following successful investments in adventurous and innovative play for families at several country parks, ECC set aside £300,000 to invest in the creation of a unique play offer at Belhus Woods Country Park.  Taking into consideration the parks location next to a motorway and it’s link with local theatre groups and the Royal Opera House; ECC released a brief that required bidders to design a bespoke play area that was themed around music, rhythm and performance, whilst remaining strongly linked to more traditional play themes.

Take a look for yourself

A similar project
to this would
cost £300,000

Our bespoke designs for Belhus Woods Country Park responded to the music, rhythm and performance theme through the incorporation of a range of musical instruments, performance and spectator spaces. These elements were combined with traditional play themes that enable opportunities to experience physical challenge, appropriate risk, and sensory and imaginative play. Our open-ended approach to design enables us to create inspiring playscapes that facilitate collaborative play between children of different ages and abilities.

Our designs included:

  • A robinia archway with a bell to ring when entering the park
  • A traditional bandstand with babel drums
  • A deck walkway sweeping through the playscape with instruments placed throughout, including chimes arranged to play ‘Teddy Bear’s Picnic’, giant emperor chimes and handpipes
  • Cajon drums on a small stage with a timber roof to protect from the elements
  • A large stage with lighting rig posts and musical instruments surrounded by three towers and a sweeping curved walkway
  • Three oversized climbing chairs and balance beam network for seating in front of stage
  • A large sandpit with jetty, fish carousel, wobbly whale and a Punch and Judy stage with carved crocodile seating
  • A challenging older children’s climbing area with nets and tower
  • A pebble area with platforms, pulleys, shoots and carved mixing bowls
  • A spinning zone with infinity bowl, spinning disc and witches hat roundabout

To ensure the design was in keeping with the country park setting, we used our trademark natural materials such as robinia, larch and eucalyptus timbers and combined them with carefully selected stainless steel play equipment and outdoor musical instruments. The result is an inspiring playscape that provides memorable play experiences for children, young people and their families.

Accommodating between three hundred to five hundred children playing at once, the finished product at Belhus Woods Country Park has been successful in increasing footfall and encouraging existing visitors to extend both the length of their visits to the site and the regularity with which they visit.

From the initial design phase through to the installation Infinite Playgrounds were an extremely helpful and knowledgeable organisation to work with. They completely understood what we were trying to achieve and their designs reflected this. The construction process was smooth and the team worked very hard given our tight timescale.

The play space has had a positive impact on the park and is proving very popular with the local community and also those from further afield.

– Laura Boreham, Business Development Lead, Culture and Green Spaces, Essex County Council

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