Rand Farm Park, eight miles east of Lincoln, opened its doors in 1996, having originally been a pig farm. From their opening day, which welcomed 110 visitors, they have grown steadily to become a major destination farm attraction for the region.
Our brief was to create a statement play structure to welcome visitors to the park that was bold, very much of the scale of the existing farm buildings and would remain low maintenance into the long term. You can see the initial thinking here:
What we created was a pair of interlinked Play Silos, modelled on the local style of the many grain silos found throughout the region. At over 8m high, they are big and bold and make the required statement on entry to the park. The location was carefully selected to give the best impact for views when entering from both the existing primary entrance point through the current visitor centre building and a possible secondary or future entrance through the new fence line.
The key to the industrial farm look is in the details. We used grey square timbers for the frame and stainless steel banding with a rivet detail around the structure to replicate the traditional grain silo look.
In one lovely detail, around the low-level access to the larger silo, the rubber crumb floor is a golden yellow, to give the effect of grain spilling out in the yard. There's play value throughout, as you can see from the cross-sectional image of the two silos.
The majority of the play elements were constructed using timber with a high grade water based paint applied, adding to the theming. The use of the timber cladding around the central framework helps to soften the structures, allowing each of the individual elements to sit together harmoniously.
As is always the case, and to ensure repeatability, play value is everything for us and within the silos there's an adventurous mix of ways up to the highest levels. Nets, ladders and climbing walls give access up and through the structures, whilst slides from different levels take visitors back down to the ground again.
The larger silo has three levels, accessed by an internal ladder, scrambles and a number of routes to the top. This gives you access to the big and very quick twisty slide. There are holds for a climbing wall on the outside, for an alternative access point.
Within the smaller silo, there's a net chimney that runs the full height of the silo to allow you to climb to the top. This gives you access to the high level crawl tunnel to the bigger silo and the big slide that awaits.
The two are also joined with a lower level steel cored, soft finish net tunnel that kids love and there's a tractor tyre swing slung below to carry the farmyard feel even further.
Around the play silos, there's a rubber crumb flooring in tan brown and a softer wheat colour to protect kids (and adults) in the event of a fall. There's also a surrounding landscape design with astroturf and Birch tree planting, that help to bed the new play structure into the surroundings.
The final detail is the slides themselves. Created from heavy gauge stainless steel, they create a fast safe slide that will cope with the worst of Lincolnshire weather for many years to come. The CGI showed more closely how it would look.
• A new play structure to act as a centrepiece with a bold look and feel at an existing farm park family attraction
• Industrial styling in every detail to suit the local look and feel of existing farm buildings
• High and low-level links between the two play silos
• Two stainless steel slides to keep older and younger children interested
• Designed to be low maintenance for years to come
And then here it is finished, open and being enjoyed by families playing and adventuring together.