Puzzle Forest at Bedgebury Pinetum

The Puzzle Forest is a motivational and testing piece of climbing play equipment that offers the 8 years to adult age group a destination play feature at Bedgebury National Pinetum and Forest, Kent and an aspirational piece for younger children. It meets the brief for a wow factor piece of play equipment through its scale; the poles are very high at 4m and the footprint covers the majority of the clearing. It is designed to appeal and challenge the older age range with a range of nets, poles and ropes that are excellent at improving upper body strength and gross motor skills. This age group thrives on challenge as they test out their growing physical capabilities and mental skills.

Approaching from any of the paths Puzzle Forest fills the clearing and appears to merge into the surrounding woodland. It is a collection of very tall upright robinia poles that skirts the grand, central Oak, taking care not to encroach into the Oak’s root zone. Plenty of shady and sunny seating around the clearing will encourage increased dwell time and interaction by families.

Puzzle Forest is made from 4m high round robinia poles that have been debarked and sanded to create a smooth surface. Attached to the poles at a variety of heights off the ground are a large number of high and low level scramble nets, balance ropes, climbing holds and foot notches. There are many entry and exit points to this piece of play equipment and various ways of traversing which allows it to be used by a large number of children at the same time.

Children are inspired, encouraged and challenged to traverse this space with motivational words carved onto the poles. Some words are motivational and some are commands or actions and some are suggestions of using measurements so that children can benchmark their achievements.