Inspired by the dormice that live at Alice Holt Forest, the new play area is made up of two nests covered in locally grown chestnut and nestled high off the ground. The nests are connected by a net and ladders that children can climb and scramble across in the same way that dormice move around in the trees. Dormouse nests are woven from bark and leaves and often created in tree holes or within brambles and hedges. We have aimed to creatively replicate the nests using a mixture of FSC Robinia and local grown Forestry Commission split chestnut coppice. The two high level nests are connected by a net tunnel and are elevated on round poles to represent the supportive braces that the dormice will use to build their nests around.
This is a higher and more challenging piece for the age group requirements of 6-10 year olds, providing a level of risk and challenge and giving the children a high level view of the woodland. It is visually appealing feature that can be viewed and accessed from all sides for parents to interact with their children from the ground.
The climbing elements of the play feature also represent the fact that Dormice are expert climbers and some of the most acrobatic and arboreal animals, spending most go their time climbing amongst tree branches in search of food, rarely coming to the ground.