Oak log tunnel

We have recently sent this huge oak log tunnel to a customer for installation in a park. Cut from one large section of oak it took some doing but I’m sure it will provide lots of fun for the children!

Oak log tunnel, playground, natural play

natural play, tunnel, park, playground

Natural play, playground, tunnel, park

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Tree Platform

We were recently asked to make a tree platform to be sent out in kit form, Ive not seen the final installation yet but here are a few photos of the platform in the yard and ready for dispatch.

Tree platform, natural play, equipment

natural play, equipment, playgrounds

Tree platform, natural play, playground

Natural play, schools, playground

 

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Snow Stops Play

We had a good amount of snow at the weekend in south Herefordshire, brilliant fun with the kids sledging and making igloos!

The yard was under 8″ of snow so couldn’t get to the poles I had intended to peal, building igloos seemed to be a good alternative.

I’d booked on to a chainsaw course in north Wales for Monday morning, I needed to get a new certificate so pretty important I got there, it was actually an OK drive and well worth it for the scenery alone!

I’d thoroughly recommend Phil’s courses¬† www.chainsawtraining.com Great guy and great place to spend a few days.

A few photos of the views in north Wales, you can just about see Snowdon in the distance between the trees in the first photo.

Natural play, Phil Dunford, chainsaw

Natural play, chainsaw, Phil Dunford

 

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Oxford Climbing Frame

A few more photos of the project at St Barnabas Primary School in Oxford. The old play area had seen its day and wasn’t really using the space very well, given a budget and a wish list we designed this new climbing frame to utilize the space and provide an exciting new play area for the younger children.

Using the two platforms to create some height the other features enable children to scramble, balance and climb around the edge of the frame and up onto the platforms.

Made from pealed and sanded chestnut the frame is then oiled with a plant based oil to create a very durable structure, the rope work is all 16mm steel core rope that will last many years.

climbing frame, natural play, timber play, equipment, playground

Natural Play area, climbing frame, play equipment

Play equipment, natural play, playground

climbing frame, natural play area

Oxford, timber play, climbing frame

Primary school play frame

Natural play, playground, timber play area

Natural play, climbing frame, playground

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St Barnabas Primary School

We have been very busy building a climbing frame for the children at St Barnabas Primary School in Oxford.

Its been a lovely job and everyone is very pleased with the results. We were asked to attend assembly for the children to say thank you, the quote of the week has to be one boy who asked “do you think that’s going to be fun for someone my age to play on” long pause “its looking very promising”.

St Barnabas Primary School, Climbing frame, Oxford, natural play

 

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Natural Play Bench Set

We were asked to make a set of simple benches for a natural play area, these benches are made from either ash, oak or chestnut, depending on stock, and are very robust.

The simple nature of the benches makes them ideal for all sorts of natural play activities and a great addition to the outdoor learning environment.

Please visit the online shop for details of this bench set, if you are looking for something that isn’t listed in the shop please email us with your requirements, we will do our best to help.

 

Natural play bench set, School benches, school grounds

Natural play bench set, school, playground

small bench group

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Oak stump

Further to my previous post, I’ve posted below a few before and after pictures of the oak stump used in the High March playground, you can see it was partially hollow when we found it.

This was due to be cut up for fire wood so I was really pleased we got there first!

The last three before and after photos are of the huge oak board we used for the front of the playhouse, this was one of the most satisfying features we have ever made, really great fun.

Log Tunnel, playground, natural play

Oak stump, oak tunnel, playground

Oak log, natural play, tunnel

Oak log, natural play, tunnel

play house, natural play, playground

Play House, Natural Play, Primary School

Play house oak plank

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High March Photos

Below are a few more photos of at last years project at High March Primary school. The climbing frame features a two story play house with the front being made from one huge slab of oak, see previous post, the frame also incorporates a ‘crows nest platform’ with ladders and scramble net.

Around the back of the main climbing frame we installed a huge oak log tunnel, this weighed near two tons and was cut from a partially hollow oak stump we found by chance on a local estate.

You will notice several chainsaw carvings throughout the climbing frame and within the paved area, these bits were commissioned to a local artist and add some real magic to the space, the totem is to celebrate the schools 90th year.

 

Natural Play, playground, carving

Natural Play, playground, High March, primary school

Natural play, climbing frame

Play House, Natural Play, Primary School

Climbing from, playhouse

Climbing, natural play, primary school

Play tunnel, natural, High March primary school

Play tunnel, natural play, schools

 

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Den Building in Cardiff

We recently installed these three den building frames for a primary school in Cardiff. The frames are made from chestnut and oiled to provide a very durable timber feature.

The school have also as asked us to supply some den building bits from the shop Click here

We can supply these frames in kit form of can install them for you, generally installation, within soil, will only take a day.

Den Building, Cardiff, Primary School

Den Building, primary school, playground

Den Building, playground, primary school

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Climbing Frame in Hurstbourne

We have recently finished this climbing frame in Hurstbourne and Tarrent in Hampshire. We had a great time building this in two sections in the yard, it went back together fantastically and makes a pretty huge play feature.

The frame incorporates a large play house for the younger children. Several big scramble nets, a stainless steel slide, monkey bars and a fireman’s pole should keep them busy!

The top two photos were taken moments after the safety fence was removed and the children rushed in for the first time!

Playing field, climbing frame, natural play

Climbing frame, natural play

climbing frame, scramble nets, natural play

Firemans pole, playhouse, cimbing frame

Playhouse, slide, climbing frame

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Oak Logs!

Carrying on with the theme of huge bits of oak I’m delighted to have found these massive oak logs on a Herefordshire estate. We need one to make into a tunnel for a natural play area, you can see in the last image this stump is partly hollow already.

I really enjoy the process of designing a play area for my clients and then gathering all the components together to bring the drawings to life. Its impossible to know exactly how the design will turn out when built but that’s part of the fun, although I had my fingers crossed I didn’t think I would actually find a log of this size already half hollow.

Having found these we just need to work out how to move them, each one is estimated to weigh about three tons!

Oak log, natural play, tunnel

Oak logs, natural play, tunnel

Oak log, natural play, tunnel

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Play House Oak Plank

The attached photo is of a huge oak plank we are using to make the front wall of a playhouse. This is to be incorporated in a large natural play area at a school in Hertfordshire.

Play house oak plank

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Playhouse with Turf Roof

I recently revisited this school playground that we built back in 2010. The small natural playhouse with turf roof is still looking great. We supplied lots of planks, logs and chestnut poles for den building and balance games.

Nearly half of this small early years playground is taken up with a large sand pit, the children loved the size and depth of the sandpit, the planks and poles were fully utilised for all sorts of creations as soon as the kids were allowed in.

Natural play den, play house

We are happy to work with our clients designs for natural play areas and equipment or will produce designs from a simple wish list. In this case the school wanted a small den tucked into a small space, it needed to look soft in the area so as not to dominate the remaining play space.

Hazel hurdles are used as a moveable front wall allowing for varied uses and different play experiences.

Natural play, playhouse with turf roof

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Balance Beams

Our simple balance beams or made from locally grown oak with stainless steel fixings where necessary.

The beams are made to be either fixed features within a natural play area or playground or as movable items to be placed among existing play features and equipment. They can also be used to create a stand alone play area.

By placing four or five beams in a circle or several in a line it is possible to create a great play feature for little expense.

The photos below show the many options available when making these beams, some simply sit on the ground or they can be made even more fun by placing one over another, all the beams will be supplied to provide a stable and safe piece of play equipment.

 

Natural play balance beams

Play Frames and Features

Natural Play balance log

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Early Years Play Frame

One of my favourite natural play projects, this simple early years play frame provides such a divers range of play opportunities it became the focal point within the garden.

The frame is made from very durable sustainably sourced local hard wood and is very simple to install. Supplied with a variety of smooth poles and planks the children are able to set about transforming the frame into all sorts of wonderful things.

To keep with the natural feel of this play area we installed a timber edge and laid play bark for the surfacing, although this bark does need topping up occasionally I do like it as a play area surface. Although it can be a bit of a pain to top up it is a relatively cheap option as installation time is so quick.

 

Natural Play frame, den building frame

Natural Play, Early years play frame

A similar play frame being put to good use.

Early years play frame, den building area

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School Grounds

In 2010 -2011 Copper Beech were fortunate enough to be awarded a contract to landscape the school grounds of the new Steiner Academy Hereford. The project took a total of 18 months and included several play areas, kindergarten play spaces and gardens along with teaching spaces and the main school courtyard.

The courtyard, pictured below, is a focal point of the school, a meeting space and teaching area. Part of our brief was to use natural materials for the seating, walls and paving. We used stone from a quarry less than ten miles away to pave the courtyard with traditional “pitching” a technique you may have seen when walking on mountain paths. As you can imagine this took an age but I think it looks great.

School grounds project, Steiner, landscaping

A striking feature in the school courtyard.

 

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Water Play Rill

I’ve attached a few photos of different styles of stone rill we have made for water play spaces. One rill, at home, was simply ground out of the stone to create a smooth, shallow depression across the patio (much to Helen’s delight!) and several others involving either staggering the paving, laying sets to create a channel or deeper carving of the stone.

I am often asked if the stone becomes slippery after time, surprisingly its never been an issue, however if the water play rill was uses an lot it may be necessary to give it a blast with a jet wash now and then. I really enjoy installing these water play features in private gardens and school playgrounds, I was lucky enough to have parents that would allow me to run the hose pipe for hours while making rivers and dams through the neighbouring woodland so know just how much fun playing with water can be. These days I encourage people to use rain water or recycle the water with either a hand pump or electric pump.

Stone water play channel, natural play, water play rill

The smooth channel running across our patio at Copper Beech central. The water is fed from a large rain water storage tank at the back of the house. Our boys 9 and 11yrs still love to play in this on sunny days and little Anna 1.5yrs finds sitting in it to be delightful, especially just as we are about to go out!

Water play, natural play

With the slate paving set slightly apart we were able to make this small water play rill that again runs from a rain water tank and ends up running into a large sandpit.

Water Play, natural play, playground

As part of a water play space installed at a school in Nuneaton this stone set on edge created a very textured surface, we were able to create a channel that ran around the edge of the circular play area.

natural play products, water play rill

Cut into flagstones this rill could be made any length, the channel is about 10mm deep and the surface is quite textured making lovely ripples and an extra non-slip surface.

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Den Building Kit

I took this photo at the weekend, a den building kit nearly ready for dispatch.

The main frame is pealed and sanded and ready for oiling, all the stainless steel bolts have been cut and labelled. These frames are very easy to assemble, requiring just three holes to be dug and four bolts to fasten the frame together. We are happy to install these frames or sell them with detailed installation instructions and plans.

Each kit comes with rustic poles and planks for endless den building adventures and with a natural canvas cover children will be able to enjoy their constructions in all weathers.

Den Building Kit, natural play, forest school

Hard day in the office!

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Pub Garden Play Frame

This pub garden climbing frame needed to be suitable for a wide range of ages and abilities while fitting into a fairly small area. We incorporated a large sandpit along one side of the area for the smaller children.

The owner of the pub gave us some great feedback with customers really appreciating the addition of this natural play area.

All of our play frames are made form locally sourced hard woods, they are sanded and oiled to give a smooth tactile surface that is durable and hard wearing. With minimal maintenance these frames will last for many years and provide a great play environment for your children.

 

Pub garden, play frame, climbing frame

pub garden, climbing frame

pub garden, climbing frame

pub garden, climbing frame

 

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Small world play

Further to the previous blog, Anna Olive finding the fairy house and checking out if any one is home! these mini houses are idea for early years small world play and natural play areas.

Small world play

Anna discovering the fairy house

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