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Fairlop Waters Park

Location: Redbridge, London, UK

Area: 4 Hectares
Landscape Design: Peter Fink with artists Olivia Fink and Stephen Shiell
Client: London Borough of Redbridge

fairlop waters_ECO LANDSCAPE TODAY.pdf (2 MB)

fairlop waters_LANDSCAPE DESIGN_02-2012.pdf (31 MB)

fairlop waters_PAISEA_2012-09.pdf (4 MB)

This 4ha natural play area is located in the northern area of Fairlop Waters Country Park. The design provides a natural and adventurous play experience for children in particular 8 – 13 year age group. The design focuses on selected areas with maximum potential for imaginative play integrating with existing trees and vegetation as a natural setting. The resulting narrative focuses on an interlinked series of hidden spaces to encourage exploration and discovery.

Play Zones
The natural play area draws on the geology and soil conditions of the space, alluding to the history of the space as a boating lake and Fairlop Fair, and connecting it to the adjacent Boulder Play area and lake. The zones are a sequence of activities/functions aimed to tapping into both the physical and creative aspects of children’s play by creating spaces which challenge them physically ‐ for example through climbing, balancing, running, jumping ‐ as well as such functions as experimental/ experiential/ educational spaces which stimulate their imagination, and encourage them to make up their own stories and scenarios. The aim was to create stimulating environments which invite children to take a hands‐on approach to explore their surroundings as well as inclusive social interaction. The design provides an environment where parents and carers can monitor the children’s activities without affecting the atmosphere of natural play.

The zones are linked together through consistency of materials, such as timber species for all timber structures, bespoke bell towers each with a different tone when struck for interactive play between play zones, woodland planting in the overall site backdrop and swards of wildflower meadow planting throughout. The site also borrows from the material palette of adjacent Boulder Play site, namely Coxwell gravel for the soft-fall area to the Log Play and smaller boulders for informal seating.

Walking Paths: Gravel, grass
Furniture: Felled logs
Illumination: No lighting provided
Plants: Native tree species, native grass mixes
Others: The scheme is constructed on top of a landfill.  The design interventions were limited to a maximum of 300mm depth into the ground to avoid damaging the clay capping of the landfill.

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