Chipping Norton, Oxfordshire

The Fairy Dell at Fairytale Farm

Fairytale Farm in Oxfordshire


Fairytale Farm opened in 2013 as the UK’s first visitor attraction that is open to all and where disabled children come first in the design and layout. It's a truly inclusive experience, where everything is accessible and everybody is welcome.

The park was created by Nicola and Nick Laister. Their daughter Olivia has cerebral palsy and they had always wanted to visit an attraction that was amazing fun for children both with disabilities and also for their children who are not disabled too. With nothing being available, they decided to create their own and Fairytale Farm was born. It's a beautifully blended mix of classic fairy tales, animals and adventure play.

Going right back to what we learned from our very first projects, we have always that accessible play is the best play. When families can play together, whatever their abilities, everyone has more fun. When we designed and built the Boundless Playground in Bermuda for Windreach, a charity whose mission is to enrich the quality of life for people with special needs , we created something that introduced a whole new level of accessibility to allow children and adults of all abilities to play together.

The brief

The brief we created covered five key areas to cover with the play development. We aimed to cover all five of these design parameters throughout our build.

- Be Inclusive and accessible
- Present physical challenges
- Create sensory play
- Introduce some climbing to height to introduce an element of risk
- Play with the topography where possible

Fairytale Farm - illustration with Logos

The build

The Fairy Dell area of the site benefits from a sloping ground level and undulating pathway. After working with the client, we agreed that this would be the best area to work with for the new play to be added. The main access path runs through the space in a ‘U shape’ creating a central area of grass, ideal as the primary location for development.

Our aim was to create the most magical play area ever, where you are shrunk to the size of fairies. It incorporates an accessible walkway, suitable for wheelchairs. This includes a humpback bridge feature and themed rope work, along with painted elements to make it bright and attractive. There's a stainless steel embankment slide with launch and landing platforms.

The giant wooden mushroom has multi-level platforms to climb inside. It includes a doorway and windows to peer out of at increasing heights. This links to the second accessible mushroom via a timber-slatted crawl bridge. The mushroom has an interactive pairs game and internal climbing wall up through the stem.

In addition, we added a ground play trail with balance beams and log hop trails alongside the accessible pathway. And, our favorite Harmony Bells, a simple outdoor acoustic instrument which kids love and that actually makes a nice noise.

Working in some hideous conditions in the build of the Fairy Dell at Fairytale Farm with play by CAP.Co

The finished project

The Fairy Dell is a place that has a sense of magic and intrigue, that is accessible and adventurous and makes use of the steep terrain and differing heights of the land to deliver properly interactive adventure play.

We've designed in multiple routes through the space with the center mushroom towers delivering a real WOW factor. And of course there are loads of sensory elements along the way.

We're delighted with how the project looked when we had finished and here are some images of the finished build.

Fairytale Farm is open now and you can book tickets here.

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