Six tower play structure, Alexandra Park, Hoole, Chester, 3.10.17

A large, six tower bespoke timber play structure sits invitingly atop a curved grass mound in the children’s play area of Alexandra Park. The sheer physical spectacle of it and the number of activities that are built in to it make it irresistible to children of all ages to play on. Made by Russell Play from their exclusive Spielart timber range, the purpose built structure is unique to the terrain and setting of Alexandra Park.

Six towers on top of mound showing front with three stainless steel slides.

Innovative and bespoke play design
Russell Play was originally approached by Chester West Council to come up with an innovative and unique timber design that would fit onto the grass crescent mound next to the already existing play area in Alexandra Park. Rather than trying to ignore or work around the mound, it was viewed as a natural feature which could enhance and extend the play area if it was feasible to build on.

The Russell Play design team knew that using Spielart timber, they could create a totally unique, multi-activity tower system that followed the curved linear path on top of the mound. The impressive structure displays an ambition and imagination beyond a more conventional selection of stand-alone play units. Simply, it makes the park special and adds an inspiring playscape to be used and viewed with pride by the local community.

Two towers from back showing rope bridges and balancing log.
Close view of three towers from the front showing climbing ramp accesss net and slide.

It is a fitting addition to an important local park, which already contains a good array of facilities for the benefit and enjoyment of all the people and children of Hoole. Opened in 1904, Alexandra Park boasts a row of six tennis courts, a bowling green, long rows of mature trees, paths, flower beds, open areas of grass, a tarmac ball games area and buildings such as a pavilion and public toilets. It also had an existing play area, which follows a more traditional layout and selection of play units.

A multitude of play possibilities
The possibilities for play on the towers are endless, with multiple ways to access them. There are at least fifteen activities involving some form of sliding, climbing, swinging and balancing. These include three stainless steel slides, five square platforms (two with mono-pitched roofs), one hexagonal platform, rope access nets, hand over hand loop walks, jungle rope bridges, small clatter bridges, climbing beams, climbing ramps, a fireman's pole, stepping logs, various bridges and balance beams. The low to ground trail elements like the balancing logs and stepping stones were linked at either end of the structure. These are intended to form mini trails on the ends so that children could start to climb from ground level.

The towers are also fantastic for imaginative play and children can project their own ideas when playing on them. A castle or fort? A pirate ship? Space ship? A plane or train, or is it just a row of houses in a neighbourhood? The Spielart range can be created to any kind of specific theme but in cases like this the structures lend themselves to become anything the children want them to be.

Whole bespoke play structure seen from front left.

'Looking along back of play structure showing climbing ramp.

A natural fit
Even though the towers play structure is highly visible, it is not overpowering thanks to the choice of natural timber material and warm colour choices. It blends in perfectly with its leafy backdrop and harmonises with its environment. The Robinia timber is a tough, durable wood that makes solid structures so many children can enjoy playing at the same time in all kinds of weathers.

The design concept was met with 100% approval from the Council team and the Senior Landscape architect both thinking it a perfect solution for the brief. Even the installation contractors spoke of the design with regard its ease of construction with all instructions well documented.

Most importantly it has met with the approval and admiration of the local community: the children love it!


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