We’re incredibly proud to be celebrating our 21st birthday this year, marking over two decades of transforming school, park and leisure environments worldwide.

Founded by Joe Cooper in 2002, TouchWood Play emerged from a desire to bridge the gap between urban constructs and the natural world.

Driven by a commitment to effect change after graduating from university, Joe initially offered education workshops to empower individuals with no prior experience to embrace the artistry of working with wood. It was the seamless alignment of these workshops with school playgrounds that sparked the creation of TouchWood Play. Through close collaboration with schools, TouchWood set out to create bespoke playgrounds tailored to the unique needs of each community, an ethos that remains the cornerstone of TouchWood.

Our very first play area was created for Hotwells Primary School in Bristol, down the road from our beloved woodyard in Bower Ashton. Last week we returned to the school to see the play space still standing strong after 21 years and to gift the staff with a well-deserved hamper.

Joe Cooper, TouchWood Play founder and Kee Jones, Hotwells Primary School Headteacher

Since the beginning, TouchWood has thrived as a self-funded enterprise, rooted in the use of local materials and labour, all the while giving back to the communities it serves. The evolution of Joe’s original workshops into the TouchWood ‘Designing for Real’ initiative allows communities to participate in shaping their environments, fostering a sense of ownership and pride.

Joe, reflecting on TouchWood’s journey, shared, “Reflecting on TouchWood’s growth, I feel like a proud parent. It embodies the dedication of numerous talented contributors who’ve infused their energy into our journey. Today, our amazing team steers us into adulthood, taking on global ventures, and working on acclaimed play areas such as the Eden Project. Collaborating with customers who share and value our approaches and ideals remains our greatest joy.

“We’re proud to still call our original woodyard in Bower Ashton home. It’s where our roots are, and it’s where our commitment to crafting purposeful play areas blossomed.”

Joe Cooper, founder and Tim Harms, Managing Director