Durdle Door Holiday Park

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10th January

Project Details

Create a dedicated area for younger children
Wareham, Dorset
2 weeks

How did it all start?

So, this project fell into place based on our existing relationship with the Lulworth Castle Estate and the splendid job they thought we did for their attraction, (you can read more about that project, here). The Lulworth Estate, who also own the Durdle Door Holiday Park, at the time of working on their castle play area, explained they had another site for us to work on. And, from one breathtaking site to the next we went, this time finding ourselves on the very south coast of England with beaches, dunes and cliffs as far as the eye could see.

What was their goal?

So, a holiday park has, obviously, very different needs to that of a tourist attraction and so we went in with a fresh mindset. The friendly team over at Durdle Door were very welcoming, showing us around the park and explaining a bit about their goals. 

“We want to create something for younger kids who perhaps can’t venture beyond the boundaries of the park, something central that brings kids together in a safe and fun environment’ - Durdle Door Holiday Park Manager

This made perfect sense, a community playground that catered for younger age groups and allowed mum and dad to rest assured that they wouldn't be getting up to anything too untoward. We discussed a couple choices for where the playground could live and discussed weather related criteria such as drainage and shading as well. Ultimately, the choice was obvious and so took our measurements where necessary and that was the sum of our first encounter. Typically there is more of a process of getting to know one another and developing a pre-existing relationship before a site visit but due to our already established connection - there was a level of trust present from the offset.

Did they know what they wanted? How did the wooden castle come about?

Typically, most clients when planning a playground don't have a fully conceived playground design in mind, nor should they; that's our job. Typically, most people have problems in mind and a playground is the solution, as in this case, they lacked a central hub for their customers' kids and had an underutilised space that needed revamping - hense a playground made perfect sense. However, to our surprise, Durdle Door already had a design in mind.

‘Given that we want to attract holidayers from the park to our sister site at the castle, it makes perfect sense to build a play fort ‘Lulworth Castle’ that excites the kids and encourages the whole family to see the real thing’ - Lulworth Castle Estate Manager

This was a brilliant suggestion, we usually try our best to incorporate an aspect of the client's identity into our designs, whether that be through the land's heritage or an aspect of the business itself. So, the fact that they had created that connection for us made our work that much simpler.

What kind of safety concerns can you expect with a holiday park?

The overarching safety regulations are of course certified as compliant to BS EN 1176 and BS EN 1177 standards, but as we all know in settings such as this, particularly holiday parks when people go on holiday they want to unwind, they want to relax and so we are not blind to the fact that people put their feet up, they might not be as cautious or as attentive as they might be otherwise. Whilst we always stipulate that it's under supervised play only, we had to be conscious of going a step beyond creating something that was unsuitable for it’s targeted demographic and so this play area was designed with increased safety in mind and to mitigate accidents.

Is this the reason for the choice of rubber mulch surfacing?

Yes, we wanted something really safe and something that was low maintenance. We know sites like this have enough maintenance to be getting on with already, so something that would be regularly maintained would just add to their workload. We opted for a really sustainable recycled rubber bonded material which meant we could also play with the colours to create a water and moat effect perfect for a castle.

What kind of hurdles did you encounter?

The main issue with this site was that because the park was centrally located it stood close to several holiday park homes and since the design of a castle was a must we had to tread the balance of size carefully. We obviously wanted to create something that had that wow factor for kids but we didn't want to impose on residents and make them regret coming to the park. After taking many, many measurements as well as creating a number of rendered designs to proportion things accordingly our design was approved. 

“We’re happy to report no complaints have ever been made, just a brighter community full of happy faces.” - Luke Jay, Managing Director

So, was everyone happy with the final result?

One hundred percent! The kids love playing on it, imagining themselves as brave Knights and fair maidens. The parents don’t have to worry about their kids hurting themselves, they can always keep an eye on them comfortably. And, Durdle Door and Lulworth Castle have never been busier - this partnership was a recipe for success. 


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