Lulworth Castle

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5th February

Project Details

Attract families to site
Lulworth, Wareham
3 weeks

How did it all start?

Lulworth Castle and Park is a very popular tourist attraction, set upon an estate in East Lulworth, close to Wareham. Described by the owners as:

“The Most Beautiful Castle in the South” 

It all started back in 2022, with the estate manager getting in touch through a phone call explaining he had seen our website and wanted to know more about the kinds of playgrounds we created. Our company's relationships blossomed from there. We explained that:

“Our kit is made from strong, sturdy, and solid timber and is ideal for a project such as this due to the way it would seamlessly blend into the estate’s woodland environment” - Sales Manager

The estate manager expressed that the goal of this play area wasn’t to distract from the castle; he wanted the play area to complement the main focal point (the castle) and so would be located along a footpath that looped around the estate. In this respect, we were both on the same page right from the beginning - after 25+ years of creating playgrounds, we know that creating boundaries between attractions, age groups, interests, and abilities is a key part of playground design - and we think that’s what created that initial trust, the estate manager recognised that we knew the importance of seamless division.

What was the main focus of this job?

So, as the project progressed and we learned more about exactly what Lulworth Estate wanted for/from their playground, it became clear that this project had to achieve two things. Firstly, the play area had to seamlessly blend into its environment and be complementary to the estate rather than detract from the main attraction. And, secondly, the estate manager further requested:

“The playground needs to cater to all age groups since the Castle attracts families with children of all ages.”

With these two ideas in mind, we knew that this wasn't going to be an overtly extravagant build. Through our discussions we learnt that our Multiplay tower systems, Play Trails, Double-Bay Swing Set, and Wood Chip Safer Surfacing would be the perfect recipe for their requests. The tower systems are a great way of combining a range of activities for different groups bundled into one. The Play Trails added that much needed separation between the constructed den environment of the towers with an open playscape that focuses on balance. The various swings (Toddler, Flat, and Bench) are a playground favourite and an addition that really allows for children of all ages and abilities to play together. And, finally, the wood chip further extended the feeling of complementary design into the forest environment unlike something like grass mats or rubber mulch would have had in this setting.

What challenges did we face?

So, one of the main challenges of the site was creating a safe and open clearing for the play area to nestle into the woodlands. There was a clearing where a previous animal shelter had lived many years ago but had been relocated, and as such we had a starting point. However, our main issue was with the encompassing embankments on either side which had since become overgrown with brambles and other unwanted vegetation. 

“One thing that we thought about whilst on site was the history of the estate. Hundreds of years and tens of  generations had inherited this land and utilised its grounds to update and add to its heritage. We were proud to be a part of that legacy.” - Dedicated Project Leader

So as we cleared away areas of overgrowth we knew that children who were going to come here would be nurtured into appreciating the history of the land and what better way than through playing and having fun. The overgrowth and embankments took some taming but nothing we couldn't handle. In the space of a week we had the area under control and ready for installation.

What stands out in your memory with this project?

One of our favourite things about this project is the element of surprise and delight with it. Most people, kids especially, don't necessarily know it's going to be there and you don't anticipate seeing a playground. Imagine you're doing an amazing walk around what is an already incredible castle estate and then you just happen upon this player area. Kids just light up when they see it.

We think that this is a perfect summary of this case, it's not just about the kit, it's about the whole project, beginning to end, the way we collaborated to make sure both ideas and concerns were heard and understood. As a result the playground looks amazing because of the environment and kit complementing one another. You can have the most amazing kit in the world but in a boring setting or you can have very dull kits in the most amazing setting but neither of them properly fulfil the objective.  We can proudly say Lulworth Castle achieves its intended goals through harmoniously balancing the two sides of this coin and as a result kids love, learn and develop, through play, an appreciation of history, time and place.


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