Essex County Council
Cudmore Grove Country Park
Prehistoric bones, a harbour and Essex Barge create a sense of place in this unique playscape.
Our team quickly identified a key requirement; to both appeal to and cater for all visitors from young children and grandparents, to nature enthusiasts and holidaymakers. With such a wide user focus in mind, we set about developing a range of elements suitable for a mixture of ages and abilities, as well as some more challenging climbing options.
With a prehistoric history as rich as Mersea Island’s this was a fantastic opportunity to spark the imagination of a community with a series of themed play areas; each to represent a unique element from the park’s history. Since opening in July 2017, the park has seen a surge in visitor numbers, with families staying all day to enjoy the landscape and infinite play opportunities available.
The design of the play area is sympathetic to the location, offering enhancement to the area without detracting from the charms existing visitors love it for.
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Inspired by the palaeontological discoveries that have been made throughout history at Mersea Island, our first concept starts with The Bone Yard. This interactive zone features a prehistoric set of climbing beastie bones, a digging area with hidden bones, carved oak hippos, a barefoot path and an impressive stone clamber stack.
Our Essex Barge draws inspiration from the iconic shape of the sails on the Essex Barges and provides the area with a climbing sculpture made from nets and natural wood. This area offers older and more courageous children the challenges of height, balance and movement and requires a little more strength and bravery to scale the swaying net sails!
Continuing the maritime theme, Cargo Harbour has been designed with the notion of a boat unloading its cargo in mind. Combining interactive elements such as pulley systems and tipping bowls with the exciting motion of a basket swing and slides! Visitors can immerse themselves in imaginative play, exploring the boat, jetties, ramps, towers and portholes on offer.
Finally, we couldn’t resist the opportunity to build a Lookout Post providing a new vantage point for visitors, and it’s already proving irresistible to many for that iconic Titanic pose!
Visitors of all ages have been enjoying the new play offering at Cudmore Grove Country Park, gathering around the benches for picnics and taking a moment to ascend the lookout tower to marvel at the coastline.
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