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Oakwell Hall, Birstall

Client: Richard Aspinall (project leader)

Cost: £65,125

Date: 01/06/2006

Genre: Landsscape, Community

New Playground Makes Sure No One is Left Out


Oakwell Hall County Park is located on the site of a reclaimed coal mine in Birstall, West Yorkshire. The area is very popular among the local community as it is good for cyclists, ramblers, dog walkers and horse riders. However, what it lacked was a suitable playground to cater for the needs of all children. The play equipment was wooden and nearing the end of its life span with drawbacks such as no wheelchair access. When the Head Ranger Richard Aspinall heard about the ‘Communities for Health’ funding he decided to embark on a project to transform the play area.

Design and Build

The main purpose of the project was to provide play opportunities for all children. A playground was required that allowed all abilities to play side by side helping to reduce inequalities in the playground.

Consultation was undertaken with park users, parents of a local school for children with special needs and members of the Local Area Committee to research into the needs and wants of the people most likely to use the new play area.


Playground Equipment:

Our proposal for the project focused on making inclusivity invisible with numerous features like a scramble and slide inclusive unit with a u-shaped chute which allows children to slide down it securely increasing both the speed of the ride and also the fun factor. We also included two springies and a boat seat as well as other inclusive stand alone equipment.

2.4m Style Swing with 2 x Cradle Seats and Anti-Wrap Bearings: This swing’s cradle seats are specially designed for younger children who need support and supervision while swinging, and are encased in rubber for a soft touch.

Inclusive Ladybird Springie and Inclusive Springie: These pieces of play equipment are specifically designed for more inclusive play. Their seating arrangements allow a child to get on and off without assistance and give good support whilst rocking.

Back to Back Roundabout: At 420mm above the ground, this roundabout is more accessible for disabled children transferring from a wheelchair, and features two backrests and side support frames to help children with limited mobility use it like a chair.

Inclusive Play Unit: This exciting play unit features a drag ramp and inclusive scramble net. The 1.2m high slide is a ‘U’ shaped chute allowing children to slide securely down the centre.

Style Swing with 1 Inclusive Seat and 1 Flat Seat: This swing features an inclusive seat which can be used in a much more dynamic way by two or more children, as an old-fashioned boat swing.

Megaphones: These exciting megaphones allow sound to be amplified directionally from one to another, and can be spaced 20-40m apart. One is 1.3m high for smaller children and wheelchair users; the other is 1.45m high for older children.

Toddlerzone Unit: Shop & Slide This large unit features continuous rubber crawl/shuffle decks, only 150mm apart, making it both very inclusive and suitable for tiny toddlers. It features many play panels at or near ground level – mirror, shop, abacus, puzzle and binoculars – which encourage imaginative role play.

Toddlerzone Unit: Play House: Children love to play in their own little houses! This play house features play panels to explore: music pipes and a puzzle panel.

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