May 15, 2020

Fort Douglas Mini Maze

Dalkeith Country Park

lead CAPCo Dalkeith Fort Douglas Mini Maze toddler play

We've done a lot of work on the Fort Douglas Adventure Playground over the last few years and just before the lockdown, we completed another important milestone build there to widen the adventure play offer. The job was to add an additional layer of play for younger visitors with a bespoke designed toddler play offer. Welcome to the Mini Maze.

When it comes to designing toddler play, it's not simply a case of scaling down the offer for big children and parents, as this solution doesn't offer any level of incremental challenge for youngsters. Instead, it's been designed from the ground up to work for the under fours and give them many hours of adventurous fun.

With young children, adventure play introduces them to risk. It's the way that children learn. They gradually accept challenges they can overcome by understanding and accepting incremental levels of risk. With our adventure play there are no hazards or danger, but if they don't quite have the nerve to complete, say the zip wires on their first visit, they may well have learnt to be braver on the next visit and overcome that challenge. It's how children grow in confidence and why adventure play is so important for the personal development of youngsters. You can read more about our thinking on play value here.

You can see the CGI's here, showing how it looked when it left the creative teams' drawing board.

And then, just as the build team were finishing up on-site, they took a few shots with all of the play installed and ready to go. What you can see on these photos are the mini treehouse forts, slides, toddler swings including a parent and child swing, and toddler zip wires complete with toddler seats.

We've also included a new sandpit and made the tractor track integral to the whole play experience. You may also notice that the build includes a ramp to allow full access to the play for wheelchair users as well as the extra little guests still in buggies.

As with many of our builds, the on-site team often have to face some of the worst of what nature throws at them with some erm, changeable weather. This build at Dalkeith brought some of the very worst. In the words of Kirsty Scott who you can see here working through the weather. "It was a new low, even for Scotland".

But as you can see in these near-final build images, they worked through the storms and created another superb addition to Fort Douglas. Sure enough, when we were finished, the sun came out too.

This is what Stephen Begg, Dalkeith Country Park’s sales & events manager, said:

“The existing equipment for under-fours in Fort Douglas was simply not up to the same high standard of adventure play we offer to older children. Our youngest visitors are very special to us, we want to inspire them and their families to love Dalkeith Country Park from their earliest years and throughout their childhoods, to cherish their memories of playing here, as so many generations have done before.

“The addition of Mini Maze to Fort Douglas means children from toddler age all the way up to 12 as well as their grown-ups will be able to enjoy imagination-fuelled adventures within the beauty of the estate’s surrounding nature.”

It's another project we can't wait to see open and welcoming its guests to come and play.

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