Hamsterley Forest

Forestry Commission

Hamsterly Forest


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A timeless and open-ended Viking themed play trail

The Forestry Commission’s mission is to protect and expand Britain’s forests and woodlands and to increase their value to society. Hamsterley Forest attracts 180,000 visitors per year and the vision was to install a series of play areas at that would be sympathetic to the forest environment and that could be enjoyed by visitors of all ages and abilities.

Situated amongst the breathtaking woodland landscape, our bespoke themed play areas complement the environment, whilst providing a memorable new attraction to engage families at Hamsterley Forest.

The finished product

A similar project
to this would
cost £150,000

Our theme was inspired by the Viking invasions as they spread throughout the UK forests and innovatively (yet primitively) used timber to build settlements, tools, boats and transport.

Initially four new play areas were designed and installed at Hamsterley Forest:

  • The Dragon Boat Swing, a horizontal hawser rope swing suspended from a ‘longboat’ frame.
  • A Viking Ghost Ship, a challenging climbing structure for older children containing multi-level climbing elements and a choice of avenues from which to explore the decks. Complete with timber sail and carved squirrel.
  • Odin’s Keep, an imaginative social and role-play area with playhouse, picnic benches and a chunky little trim trail.
  • Thor’s Workshop, an interactive pebble play zone with a raised central platform to include scoops, shoots, bowls, wobbly ladders and pulleys.

Following the success of these first four play areas, we were invited to design five further play areas to continue the Viking theme:

  • Ran’s Home Harbour, an area suitable for younger children consisting of low platform with jettys, balance beams and a basket swing.
  • Tyr’s Woodland Fortress, a challenging climbing structure for older children containing higher multi- level climbing element, nets and bridges.

I have been really impressed by the enthusiasm & professionalism displayed by the squad and their supervisors. They’ve been well organised, courteous, obliging & above all shown passion for what they deliver through their attention to detail. Please don’t go down the uniform catalogue route.

– Richard Gilchrist, Visitor experience manager, Forestry Commission

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