At Billy Goat, we’re always delighted to read about another successful landscaping project completed in the UK. As manufacturers of heavy-duty, no nonsense cleanup equipment for residential, commercial and municipal needs, we’re all for transforming a disused area of open space into something beneficial for the local community, and that’s exactly what the residents of Tunbridge Wells and Friends of Calverley Grounds have done.
The Calverley Adventure Grounds landscape project in Tunbridge Wells was completed in September 2017 after several years of trying to organise and get the plans off the ground. Jennette Emery-Wallis from LUC, an environmental consultancy, is an experienced landscape designer and a local resident of Tunbridge Wells. When the Friends of Calverley Grounds carried out a survey and determined that the majority of residents wanted to see a disused space turned into a playground, Jennette offered to sketch out a design for them pro bono to get the wheels in motion.
From then on, a small group of volunteers got together to take on the challenge of raising the required £225,000 budget to complete the playground. By creating and organising local events and campaigns, such as an Easter fun day, a Black-Tie auction and activities such as sponsored walks and raffles, as well as spreading the word to locals through social and traditional media, the target was easily reached. Local companies also got involved to sponsor the project, and play manufacturer Timberplay donated much of the equipment needed for the playground.
The design of the playground was carefully thought out to respect the history and nature of the site. Volunteers had a clear vision from the start and wanted the playground to become a local attraction for all, and not simply a square space with standard play equipment dotted around.
Once a spa town, it was decided that the playground should incorporate water in some way. An ‘S’ shaped sand pit snakes its way through the site to replicate a stream, with small water features and water tables added. Herbaceous planting in blues, purples and lots of grasses gives the feeling of being close to water and the site is split into different areas for both younger and older children.
We love this design project for several reasons; namely because it shows what is possible when a local community bands together to create something that benefits all. Secondly, because it demonstrates how a disused site can be transformed into a space that improves the look and feel of the local area, and offers a green, open place for all to enjoy. We have written before about the importance of pubic green areas in the UK, and we hope more local communities can be become inspired by stories like this one.