Paulsgrove, Portsmouth

The Inside Outside Playground



To create an inclusive community adventure playground for 5-13 year olds in an area of Portsmouth associated with high levels of poverty and and deprivation.

Design & Build

This groundbreaking adventure playground, combines supervised play provision with an open access play area. Parents in the locality were preventing their children playing out and the site itself was a disused lorry park at the end of a dead end road. Portsmouth City Council worked closely with the young people to look at their aspirations and needs for a play space, creating wish lists and going on trips to other play facilities in both Portsmouth and London. The design reflected this and the equipment was selected to be challenging to older children as well as suitable for younger ones. After the initial plans had been drawn up, the community was consulted once again, through resident meetings and schools. Open since October 2004, children now feel safe, and their families can now allow their children to go out and play.

The Equipment

The setting only has elements that promote social play, with all equipment usable by more than one child at a time.

The ‘Outside’ area features a 10.5 metre tower with spiral and tunnel chutes as well as an aerial runway. There’s a Dutch disc, dish roundabout and a basket swing. The sand and water play area is easily accessible to children of all abilities including those in wheelchairs.

The cleverly designed ‘Inside’ part of the playground is tucked underground with the playground equipment built on top. As well as housing an office for staff and playworkers, it also houses a small kitchen, toilets and, most importantly, an indoor play area which means they can offer, arts crafts and cooking come rain or shine. The playground also has space to run with grass and sand in its landscape.




The Details
ClientPortsmouth City Council Play Services
DateOctober 2004
GenreCommunity, Youth, Inclusive