When you work with Touchwood, we look closely at your ambitions to create structures that serve your business. The number of visitors you have on-site every day is key to ensuring your sustainability. Our structures and playgrounds are designed to attract and retain visitors as the hero piece of any attraction, education space, or residential area. With only natural materials, shapes and designs, our structures invite visitors to engage and play and in many instances, have increased interest in a specific site.
Our eye-catching structures have no instruction but invite free-flowing play that both children and adults can enjoy. Through gestures of play design, our natural structures can invite self-directed play to inspire cross-generational, unsupervised, or free-flowing play. Depending on your need, our expert teams leverage years of experience in play theory, material understanding, and high-quality design and build to ensure we create structures that draw in the crowds. This extends to the location of your play structure in any setting where we seek to enhance the an environment.
We understand the influence visitors can have over subsequent visitor numbers. Better experiences lead to better visitor numbers, and as such, we cannot ignore the power of social media. By design, Touchwood creates awe-inspired, eye-catching structures that are visually impactful and appealing. Just as we inspire play, we inspire visitors to capture the memories they are creating, which can support an increase in visibility for your site. Working with our expert teams, we can ensure that your brand is embedded into the design so that our structures support increased awareness of – and deeper visitor connection to – your business.
As part of our designs, we can incorporate natural routes and pathways. These features can work to provide many benefits to your site as visitors navigate from one place to another. Not only can these wayfaring play spaces inspire different types of creative play, such as journey and route play, but draw visitors into the structures. In addition, our dedication to using only natural materials provides an innate desire for visitors to play, as we strike a balance between a natural inclination to be in nature and a drive to play.
The National Trust selected Touchwood’s specialist team at Tyntesfield and Leigh Woods to design bespoke woodland play areas to complement and evoke each location’s unique environment and history.
At Tyntesfield, Touchwood’s brief was to create a play area high in the woods on the estate which would appeal to children of all ages and link with the history of the Victorian Gothic l house, gardens and parkland.
To ensure the design for the play trail would integrate seamlessly into the overall personality of Tyntesfield, Touchwood began the project with its unique “Designing for Real” process. Members of the National Trust team and children from the local community were invited for a day of exploration and adventure workshop in the woods to help develop the themes for the story and characters for the play trail. The finished play area, which is crafted from locally sourced wood from either the estate or from the Forest of Avon, includes brass rubbing posts and challenging play equipment such as an enchanted tree house, a rope swing and a giant guano bird and its nest, celebrating the fertiliser industry which gave the Gibbs family, who lived at Tyntesfield, the money to develop the house and estate.
Touchwood’s team also created a strong narrative link between the house and the woodland, with fictional carved woodland characters based on people who might once have worked at the house. These include Billy the Ear, the old bell ringer and Stan the Shovel, the fearsome man responsible for filling the coal burner that heated the house. There are also fictional fantasy sculptures like the playful Hunky Punks inspired by the Gothic gargoyles, which decorate the house’s exterior and who, in the play trail story, descend from the house at night and gather in the woodland.
“We have developed a strong partnership with the National Trust, and through our inclusive approach to play design, we have captured what makes Tyntesfield and Leigh Woods unique. In both these sites, we have created exciting and challenging natural play environments, which have attracted many more children and parents to visit, explore and learn more about the locations. Of course, each project had its complexities, but we are extremely pleased with the highly positive responses to the play areas from the National Trust and the many visitors who engage with them.”
Touchwood’s Founder, Joe Cooper
Find out more about Touchwood’s work with The National Trust here.
Our concept design team can quickly help you explore pricing, themes and play value on a call. Our designs are bespoke and no two are the same. Whether you’re a school or a world class leisure park, we can quickly come up with some ideas to support your project.