New Outdoor Play Space Officially Opens

A new children’s play area has opened on Hadrian’s Wall at The Sill: National Landscape Discovery Centre.

The Sill Playscape, funded by the Tarmac Landfill Communities Fund, is designed to provide a creative and inspiring landscape-themed learning and play experience for children of all ages and abilities.

The space features a variety of interactive experiences that use the natural landscape. Elements include stone boulders, tree trunks and grass mounds to promote creative, imaginative play through climbing, hiding, balancing, chasing and role play.

The Playscape was designed by Kompan, a specialist outdoor play company based in Scotland. Its design revolves around the unique and special qualities of the National Park and features play equipment inspired by wildlife which children will see when they visit.

It also has several unique features to provide a variety of stimulating challenges for children under 12 years of age with different abilities. A leaf climber directly reflects the woodlands and animals that live within them, and the trim trail allows children to use their imagination, whether they are a squirrel running through the branches of the trees, a snake slithering through the grass or balancing along Hadrian’s Wall.

The Playscape is also home to an extensive sandpit to encourage children to pretend to be in charge of shaping their own National Park landscape.

Speaking at the official opening, Sarah Burn, Head of Engagement at Northumberland National Park, said: “From the outset of the project our goal has been to create a fun, inspiring, play experience for children and young people of all ages and abilities.

“We wanted to please, excite, challenge and stimulate children’s imaginations, whilst encouraging them to learn about the natural environment through play in a safe way. It was also important for us to create a place where families can meet, socialise and engage with the National Park’s landscape.

“I’d like to thank the charitable team at Tarmac and the talented team at Kompan in helping us to successfully make this project a reality. We hope the Playscape will help to draw new and returning families to The Sill by offering an outdoor learning and play experience like no other.”

Children from nearby Newbrough Primary School were special guests at the official opening event, where they joined representatives from Northumberland National Park Authority and Tarmac, to try out the new play area.

Children from Newbrough Primary School enoy the new Playscape at The Sill

Tarmac Landfill Communities Fund

Tarmac, which specialises in sustainable building materials and construction solutions, funded the design and installation of The Sill Playscape through a donation from the Tarmac Landfill Communities Fund.  In total the project took 18 months to complete.

John Riley, Tarmac’s North and Scotland Operations Director, said: “We are delighted to support The Sill Playscape, and we look forward to the positive impact this unique nature inspired playground will have on the local community and families visiting the area.

“We’re immensely proud of the projects supported through the Tarmac Landfill Communities Fund, and the work we do with communities across the UK to improve the quality of outdoor spaces. The Sill Playscape is now open to the public and is sure to become a favourite play destination for families from near and far.”

The Playscape is set within the grounds of The Sill: National Landscape Discovery Centre next to Hadrian’s Wall, a UNESCO World Heritage site in Northumberland National Park.

It is the first play area and learning space of its kind along the Hadrian’s Wall corridor. Entry is free and there is a fully accessible Changing Places washroom facility on site.