Winner of The South Downs National Park People’s Choice Award 2019.
More nature than the average park
There has never been a more important time to plant trees, create space for nature and engage people with wildlife and we hope this is what we’ve achieved with Easbourne Park. The park has a sense of wildness and will continue to enrich the lives of people in the community for years to come.
Easebourne Park was designed by Wildwood UK for recreation, play and as a space for nature. We wanted this design to be different from the average suburban-looking park. With the parish council and community fully behind the plans, we began work. Along with Wildwood Dens and Trails, we created a wildlife pond, planted native trees, heather, bluebells, meadow grasses and other wild flowers to engage park visitors with wildlife and to also conserve nature at a local level.
We installed four of our Wildwood Dens and trails using oak tree trunks donated from the nearby Cowdray estate. The tree trunks travelled less than a few miles before becoming a permanent wild looking play feature of the park. During construction, all sorts of rare beetles flew in and investigated the natural wood. This is proof that in just days our play areas were attracting wildlife. The pond also immediately attracted darter dragonflies that began laying their eggs in the water margins.
Our innovative play areas offer young people the chance to climb on natural tree trunks with a natural backdrop of native trees and plants. Whilst playing, the children are surrounded by nature and natural processes and as a result they are more aware of it. The children aren’t bound by prescriptive play or turn taking which means they tend to play more imaginatively and creatively. This kind of play also offers the children the chance to take small risks which is crucial for becoming more risk aware later in life.
A project for the whole community
We worked closely with Easebourne Parish Council, Playsafe and other organisations to bring the project to life. To plant the park, we enlisted the help of school children from Easebourne Primary School, Conifers Primary School, the local Brownies and many other volunteers. The park has a sense of wildness and will continue to enrich the lives of people in the community for years to come. We planted 1000 English bluebells, 150 heather plugs, 140 trees and sowed 15kg of wildflower and heather seed.
Engravings designed by local children
The tree trunks were engraved with images that the local school children designed and we also added engravings that reflect the local area of Easebourne and Midhurst. We also installed four muddy puddles that the children love to splash about in during wet weather.