Barrow Hills is a small, happy school with around 220 children aged 2-13 years and a family-centred ethos. With a focus on forest school style outdoor education in its acres of woodland, it's a place where children can be children and learn through exploration and develop through play, as well as academic excellence.
Our brief was to make use of the beautiful natural setting at Barrow Hills School, with the proposed play structures engaging and immersing the children in the wonderful woodland.
The design aims to provide creative and challenging play for a range of abilities. It is packed with features from high-level walkways, slides, a lookout nest with wobbly net bridge to it, and even a bucket pulley system.
The area also provides a space for a quiet moment in nature during the busy school day. It is a place where children can unleash their imaginations and collaborate in new ways.
The adventure play has been created from natural materials to help it blend seamlessly into the natural environment.
You can see the first sketch of the planned play here.
The play starts with a tree deck accessed via a spiral staircase and connects to a V-bridge that takes you up into the trees with the option to come back down via a slide to ground level.
The V-Bridge walkway weaves its way towards the next tree and netted walls make you feel the height of the trees. The second tree deck features access from ground level via a cargo net and an exciting exit via the slide.
There's a netted tunnel that's accessed by climbing up to a height of 3m in the crow's nest. It's been designed so that only the most daring will go through the crawl space to let you get a view of the floor below.
At the very top is the Crows Nest, which is high up in the trees and takes you to a viewpoint that will allow you to see far and wide. With a nest-like appearance using stick cladding and featuring a bucket and pulley system for interactive, collaborative play.