Leigh Woods – Woodland Trail Play Area to Encourage Exploration of a Historic Woodland

Client: National Trust
Client Type: Trust
Location: Leigh Woods, Bristol

Client brief:

The National Trust requested a trial design that would strongly reflects Leigh Woods' 'Spirit of Place' and which had an informal educational element.

The woodland is a National Nature Reserve and Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). It’s the largest block of woodland in the Bristol area and is the home to over 500 veteran and ancient trees. The aim of the project was to provide a more organic play trail which would attract visitors with a wider age-range and encouraging exploration further into the woods.

Design Response:

Leigh Woods had previously had a play area that had been decommissioned, which had disappointed visitors and the local community.  In the preparation of the new wilderness playground, our team at Touchwood had to consider the sensitivities of the natural environment and the local community. To ensure minimum disruption to the site during construction, fallen larch wood was gently pulled out of the woods by horses.

Our team crafted a series of woodland installations which were dispersed throughout the woodland to create a trail which would encourage greater exploration and understanding of the natural environment and its history. The features were designed to look as though they had grown organically from the landscape. There are hollowed out logs to clamber through, a woodland fort and balancing bridge to climb up and a large web style basket swing, which hangs from two of the wood’s old beech trees.

Since it was opened the Leigh Wood’s trail has joined the National list of “places to do 50 things before you're 11 ¾.”

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How much does it cost..?
We have delivered projects for £1,000 and £1M. Whatever the budget, every job goes through the same meticulous process and we take equal care over the installation of a single swing as we do for an entire playground.

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