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Overview of Woodhorn Museum play area

Woodhorn Museum

Ashington, England

Case Studies

A former 19th-century coal mine that has now been turned into a museum holding historical artefacts from the site, the Woodhorn Museum in Northumberland worked with Timberplay on a two-phase playground instalment. Specifically, the museum wanted to ensure the play space was natural and reflected the heritage of the site whilst also increasing its offer of inclusive play.

The first phase of the installation was all about celebrating the mining museum's heritage. We included a Mining Cart, Building Site, and Mining Platform, so kids can play with the same equipment they learned about in the museum and feel like real miners moving around gravel, which also forms a great safety surfacing. Plus, we added a Small Pyramid Tower with a super fun Slide that's a wonderful focal point for the space and perfect for adventurous kids who love physical play.

But that's not all – we also had to make sure the little ones had their own special spot to play. We included two Swinging Horses that encourage imaginative play and also physical development through their rocking motion. Using our landscape-led design values, we took the already existing landscape to the next level by adding a Crawling Tunnel to natural grassed mounding – perfect for crawling through and rolling down the hill. And to really round things out, we left in the existing gravel pit, which is perfect for loose-fill surface play.

After the success of the first phase, Woodhorn returned to work with Timberplay for the second phase of the installation, and this brought a ton of exciting new play equipment to the playground. The client had briefed that they wanted the play space to offer more inclusivity for children. A Pairs Game with a mining museum theme is great fun for people of all ages and abilities and encourages memory development. A Ferraphone pumps out tunes and sounds, giving children a chance to experiment with noise and tones, as well as being a great sensory experience for children with specific neurodiversity needs. To further enhance the offering for disabled users, we added a super cool Rotating Plate that's accessible for wheelchair users too, so they can play with everyone and feel involved in the play space.

To encourage socialising and imaginative play, we strategically placed a network of Conference speakers for kids to chat and share ideas. And, of course, we couldn't forget the classic Cradle Nest Swing, which is always a hit. The Cradle Nest is great for users of all abilities as it allows children to be lifted onto the seat and lay down or sit up to experience swinging motions. With more kids on it, the swing goes faster and encourages teamwork – making it perfect for collaborative play!