Offwell parish playship sets sail

 

Wooden play area in the lovely Devon village of Offwell

The last couple of weeks have seen us building a new play area for the village of Offwell in East Devon. It’s been really nice to be working closer to home for a while, as most of the projects we do tend to be in other parts of the country.

Offwell is a small village in the Southern part of east Devon between Seaton, Axminster and Honiton. They have a large recreation green, used by several of the sporting clubs in the village, as well as being the perfect outdoor venue for community fete’s, bonfire displays and other parties and gatherings. They even have their own bar/pub in next to the playground area, serving up much appreciated Otter beers from the local brewery.

As the community fundraising progressed we got involved providing conceptual design schemes, and outline costings so that there was information available for sponsor grants and national lottery applications. The village got involved with preparing the area, making it level, removing (a lot of) stomes, and sowing grass seed. We continued to work on the designs and a few weeks ago started cutting timber in the workshop. The swings and the toddler towers are already established designs, these were made and taken to site for site assembly and installation. The ship was a rather more demanding prospect. We’ve made a number of ships over the years. The real challenge is to create a structure that is, one one hand definitely ship shaped, but is also an exciting play structure, that has slide, scramble net, climbing wall etc attached without detracting form the overall shape. So we decided to build the ship in the workshop prior to assembling it onsite.

 

Commercial Playship play towers swings

 

Shipbuilding returns to East Devon

We’ve made a number of ships over the years. The real challenge is to create a structure that is, one hand definitely ship-shaped, but is also an exciting play structure, that has a slide, scramble net, climbing wall etc attached without detracting from the overall shape. So we decided to build the ship in the workshop prior to assembling it onsite.

Here the structure begins to take shape. Getting the decks right is important to ensure that the rest of the ship develops properly.

Stuart and the team particularly enjoyed building this climbing frame. A local community project in a village we all know is always nice to be involved in.

The end results speak for themselves. Any commercial play equipment has to be robustly built. A design like this only works if it’s substantial enough for many children to play on and enjoy together.

In this village play area, as well as the ship we installed a twin toddler tower unit. The cedar shingles look stunning in a village setting like this. Having a smaller unit for younger children alongside the large play equipment for older kids means that there is something for everyone. It’s important to ensure that the equipment provided for different age groups is age-appropriate. All our commercial play areas are designed and built in accordance with the guidelines laid out in BS EN 1176, which is the British Standard for commercial play equipment.

A deadline loomed while building this play area. The annual village bonfire party. While we worked on the play area the rest of the village worked on building a huge bonfire stack, ready to spark up on the evening of 30th October. So as we’d finished only a couple of days before it was really nice to go to the party and see our play equipment being put through its paces. And seeing how many children (and big Kids!) used our ship for a grandstand view of the firework display was very satisfying.