National Trust

Newcastle Upon Tyne

March 2019

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A National Trust gem nestled in the Derwent Valley

We were approached by Gibside National Trust at the beginning of 2019 to install several woodland trail elements within their site located in Newcastle Upon Tyne.

Our response to the brief was the installation of a series of woodland trail elements including balance trails, acrobatic bars, a sit-up bench and our trademark ‘Tree Lab’. A sequence of balance beams with overhead ropes was installed as a walkway through the trees within the woodland. Some of the robinia posts supporting the beams featured woodland carvings to help connect the balance trail to the forest and the surrounding landscape. All of the beams were installed below 600mm to avoid the need for safety surfacing ensuring more of the budget could be allocated to generating play. The balance trail is a perfect addition for both adults and children to enjoy, encouraging inter-generational play.

The finished product

A similar project to this would cost £17,000

Children play and explore in many different ways and ‘The Tree Lab’ is all about initiating explorative play through the idea of a woodland laboratory. Many of the interactive elements are accessible from ground level, encouraging inclusive play, suitable for all ages and abilities. How children interpret the equipment will always surprise adults but the elements in ‘The Tree Lab’ are there to encourage a different type of play than that of the rest of the trail. It is all about investigative play which involves finding, collecting and sorting of natural found materials.

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