Pledge and Play

The site for the new Wanstead Park play areaThe site for the new Wanstead Park play area

The launch of the Wanstead Park play area crowdfunding campaign has been delayed. Pledges will now be welcome from early next year, says Gill James, who explains the plans for the playground’s secluded site

In September, some handsome wooden direction signs appeared in Wanstead Park. Some of the signs point to a ‘Play Area’. This has many people bemused. Where is it? What play area?

The site is well hidden, set back from the path and hidden by trees behind the Temple, so as not to detract from the natural ambience and beauty of the Park, but accessible by the main path near the toilets.

A roughly spider-shaped pile of large logs has appeared in this secluded unused site, all cut from the forest’s fallen trees. This interesting climbing structure is the first of the play features to be installed in the new woodland playground.

There are lots of ideas that will be developed to create a natural play area, mainly using materials from Epping Forest. Play zones will cater for different age groups, from two to age 10. A new connecting path within the site will be wheelchair and buggy accessible, linking the play zones with picnic tables and a seating area.

The next phase, after finishing the log climbing structure, will be building a woodland trail. Around 40 large logs will be buried in the ground to make the steps, with a log wobble beam for balancing, monkey bars, balance ropes and the like, all sourced in-house – or in-Forest – to make an exciting trail through the woods between the yew and the oak tree.

As well as the nature trail and the large tree trunk climbing structure, there will be a trip-trap bridge and balance rails over a small pit, which will be guarded by a chainsaw-carved troll, large rocks to climb on, and a woodland train for the little ones to drive, all in a tranquil woodland setting. More play structures will follow as funding allows.

We love Wanstead Park, and by creating a natural play area, we can make it an even better place for local families to enjoy together. To make the play area a reality, we need voluntary donations, starting with a crowdfunding campaign which will launch early next year (minimum pledge just £2). The total cost of the project has been calculated as £45,565 and Redbridge Council will provide match-funding if we raise at least £11,391.

The proposal is supported by the City of London, who own and manage Wanstead Park and who are contributing materials and installation of natural play features.

A link to donate to the campaign is expected to go live in the new year.