The National Trust selected TouchWood to design a bespoke and highly innovative woodland play area, to capture the unique spirit of Shugborough Estate and provides a safe but challenging space for children of all ages to explore. The project was split into two budget phases.
The 17 Century spirit of adventurous exploration, which afforded the original legacy behind the Shugborough Estate in Staffordshire, inspired our swashbuckling design for the Shugbourgh Estate’s natural playground Explorers Wood.
To ensure the design for the play area would integrate seamlessly into the overall personality of Shugborough, TouchWood began the project with its “Designing for Real” process. Members of the National Trust staff and children from the local Primary School, were invited for a day of exploration and adventure in a workshop in the woods.
Our team utilised the children’s wonderfully creative ideas to form the inspiration behind the fantastical sea themed play area design, which includes a giant carved sea creature’s tentacles, hollowed out logs to clamber through, and a huge prow of a ship, which our team expertly crafted from a fallen, ancient Oak from the grounds of the Estate.
Other features include tree hammocks, a den building area and a 30-metre-long rigging styled, zip wire through the trees and several huge ship cannons, created from recycled culvert pipes and wooden poles.
The Explorers Wood play area has been designed to generate self-led play and is low key for the National Trust to manage and maintain.