Linslade Recreation Park Play Area, Leighton Buzzard, Bedfordshire
Linslade Recreation Park, play area demonstrates how the choice of using themed play equipment can inject novelty and colour into any play area in a simple way. The purpose of this playground design was to offer imaginative play to children of all abilities and ages so the right selection of play units was important when meeting that objective.
Set in the peaceful recreation grounds in the town of Linslade, it is a popular play area used by local schools to give the children an alternative play space to their school grounds. The local council were looking for a replacement of an old multi activity unit that had seen better days. It was decided that a train theme would be ideal due to the towns train station being situated only meters away from the playground.
The two ‘Big Train’ play units, ‘Locomotive’ and ‘Slide Wagon’, which feature in the park are from the distinctive Magicolor range by Husson. Magicolor is a range of themed play vehicles for children aged 2 to 8 years. Their bold colours and fun style immediately draw children to them for pretend play. With a selection including fire engine, tractor, jeep, aeroplane, boat and campervan there are a whole world of imagination play adventures for kids to have- drive a speeding train, go on safari, be a pirate on the seven seas or travel the world in your campervan.
All these units, as with the Big Train, are great climbing frames for clambering up and over, balancing on or hanging around. They are effective as stand-alone play items or they can be mix and matched in different parts of a park or playground to create different themed areas.
A key focus in creating this play area was on disabled access so a suitable path was added for easy access to the inclusive spinner and train units. The low ramp angled climbing ramp of the train carriage allows low access to the platform and the slide. The access spinner, as its name implies, allows easy access for a wheelchair to roll on and sit fully and securely in while it is spun around. There is also ample room for other children to share the ride. Another themed play item, which children in wheelchairs can ‘pilot’, is a play cockpit. This interactive play panel is open to approach and play by all children including those in wheelchairs.
A smart but simple addition to the surface was to have a railway line rendered under the train and have it cross with a road with a car springer nearby to suggest a crossing between the two and so bringing the train and car units into the same themed world.
Russell Play was given a short timescale to deliver and install from the initial order in time for the annual competitions that the park and council are involved in. They duly did well in time and Linslade Recreation Park subsequently received its first Green Flag award.