Forestry England High Lodge, Suffolk

Our Working Forest depicts part of the process of timber extraction from woodland using machinery: from standing timber to a loaded trailer. We have demonstrated how playful climbing trees and balancing on logs can be, encouraging visitors to interact with the wider woodland in a playful way. We also task visitors to use found objects from the wider woodland to bring back to the play equipment to use to interact with the sound elements and marble run. Completed in mid March this play equipment is ready to open once Covid restrictions are relaxed.

 

Tall 4m poles represent the The Plantation Trees and the timbers are carved with woodland animals and birds such as nightjars and woodlarks. These carvings are tactile and set at a height that a child or adult in a wheel chair or pushchair can touch.

Between some of the poles are bespoke Tree Chimes which are tall, ground anchored aluminium tubes placed to allow all ages and sizes whether in a chair or standing to be able to enjoy noise making equally by striking with a favourite stick, toy or treasure.

The tall poles make way for a Fallen landscape, a jumble of felled trees that create a low level climbing stack with beams and poles.

The Crane creates order out of disorder by stacking neatly the felled timbers into a Log Stack. It is a cantilever Basket Swing which allows families to swing together and is particularly good for disabled users as it is wide and supporting. From The Crane a cable and pulley system attaches to a ring a bell.

The Log Stack is a climbing frame that has multiple routes by climbing both through and over. at different heights that challenges the older age group of children.

 

The Timber Trailer represents a Forwarder trailer and the final part of the timber journey out of the woodland. Climbable on both sides, this is also accessible by wheelchair users. There are 4 large tyres, balance ropes and beams.

All children love to collect natural treasures such as a special stone, pine cone or a favourite stick as they explore the woodland. We encourage children to use their treasures to interact with the play equipment. Two pine cone marble runs on each side of the Timber Trailer encourages competition and scientific discovery. How fast can the pine cone roll, is a small one quicker than a large one for example.

The primary material choice is FSC Robinia timber which has a long life time warranty, will silver with age and is an uneven, natural shape to add challenge and encourage decision making and risk taking. We have also used recycled rubber mats under the basket swing to enable disabled access and minimise wear.