The Bishop’s Palace, Wells

The Bishop’s Palace, a tourist attraction in Wells, Somerset asked us to design and build play structures for their Arboretum that reflected the palace’s history and enhanced the natural beauty of the space and visitor offering. There was no play facility for children at they wanted to enhance the family offering to increase footfall.  We designed 4 structures for this listed landscape inspired by the story of the Dragon of Wells who terrorised the community until a Bishop of Wells banished him. Using water, landscape and natural materials including local stone we created a unique set of play structures especially for the arboretum. The play area was fully opened in September 2016.

 

The Bishop's Palace is absolutely delighted with the Dragon's Lair. The Green Play team were extremely creative, theming the play structures uniquely to the Palace and with an instinct for what children enjoy. It was important to us that the play area told stories of the Palace that would inspire children and families to explore and learn more about the legends and history of the site. To assist with this, Green Play designed a colourful story map that takes visitors around the fourteen acres of gardens before leading them to the Dragon's Lair. As a result of Green Play's hard work we have shared our inspirational site with many young visitors who visit the Dragon's Lair time and again, creating their own stories to enjoy as their imaginations run wild.

Rosie Martin CEO The Palace Trust

The Tree Pods

A pair of steel and timber botanically inspired pods are linked by a walkway set amongst the trees. The climbing structure has a slide, monkey bars, fireman’s pole and stepping logs.

Tree Pods
Tree Pods
The slide coming off the Tree Pods
The water wheel

The Water Wheel

Inspired by Victorian engineering and the Palace’s existing water courses the Water Wheel is powered by a hand pump that fills a bowl at the top of the tower. By opening the sluice gate water will flow onto the wheel and down the timber channels to a bucket that will tip when full and then right itself.

Dragon carving

The Water Wheel
storytelling
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The Dragon's Lair

A secret hobbit hole leads to the Dragon’s Lair which is the perfect space for hosting storytelling sessions. The charred poles show the destruction of the land that the Dragon left in it’s wake

Tunnel from the mound
Scales carved on the poles
Pole jungle
Pole Jungle

The Dragon's Wings

A series of nets suspended from timber poles make a challenging climbing frame decorated in dragon’s scales and set above the allotments in the sunshine at the edge of the Arboretum.

Pole Jungle
Pole Jungle
Water Wheel
Water Wheel
Water Wheel
Dragon's Lair
Dragon's Lair