Wall to wall fun

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAYoung people, staff and the amazing volunteers from Northumbria Dry Stone Wall Association (NDSWA) celebrated placing the final stone in the dry stone wall at Shiremoor Adventure Playground this week.

The wall has been built as part of Play England’s Exploring Nature Play project to provide a playable boundary enclosing their new nature play and chill out zone with pond, wildflower meadow, willow tunnels and seating areas.

It has been fascinating to watch this ancient and highly skilled craft being practiced on an urban adventure playground. Eight volunteers from NDSWA, with help from children and young people, have given their time over the past 12 months to see this project completed.

All they asked for in return were a few bacon butties and a regular supply of tea and coffee!

The 60 metre length of wall tells a story as it winds its way across the adventure playground. It has a selection of stiles to use as crossing points, bug hotels hidden amongst the stones and  mysterious stone animals built into it, that children have fun finding and making up stories about. It also contains several time capsules, which the children and young people enjoyed making and burying as a lasting legacy of the Exploring Nature Play project.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe project has also provided opportunities for training, as one day courses have been run at the adventure playground, to encourage new volunteers to get involved in gaining new skills.

Celebrating its completion by spraying a bottle of lemonade over the wall, D shouted, ‘it’s great – it’ll keep the frogs safe now and they won’t escape.’

The children and young people have been given a 100 year money back guarantee by Peter Moorhead, Chairman of the Northumbria branch, so let’s hope they won’t be needing it.

Playground manager Keeks McGarry said: ‘The children love the new wall. As well as looking great, it has helped to create a fantastic area where they can explore nature and play in a safe environment.’

Keith Hardy, the Play and Playsites Manager agreed and said, ‘it’s been a wonderful project and looks fab.  Thanks for all your efforts on this and the whole nature play project it has transformed the playground.’

Thanks go to:

Northumbria Dry Stone Wall Association for having the patience and stamina to return week after week to finish such a fantastic project.

Sir James Knott Trust for awarding funding to purchase resources.

Northumberland National Park for donating the A Frame Stile.

Dunhouse Quarry for giving us such a brilliant deal on the beautiful stone.

Children and young people from Shiremoor Adventure Playground for having the vision and imagination to help create an amazing feature.



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