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‘Spider Park’ play area upgrade, Burntisland, Fife, 13.09.17

‘Spider Park’ is a great example of how well designed modular play equipment can be successfully added to an existing play area, linked up to previously installed equipment to make a bigger park and better play experience. In this particular case, the versatility of the Berliner rope products demonstrates that this can be achieved even after some years, when a future development opportunity may present itself.

'Spider Park' in Burntisland showing the three Berliner rope units combined.

 

The park was named by locals because of the distinctive ‘spider’s web’ shape of the ‘Jupiter’ rope climbing unit, originally installed by Russell Play just over twenty years ago. The play area itself forms part of ‘The Links’- the large public park in the coastal resort of Burntisland in Fife. The Links is a well-used and popular community space with various activities going on throughout the year including a pitch and putt, a fairground throughout the summer months and it hosts its own Highland games in July.

The versatility of modular play equipment
Over time, the park had fallen into disrepair and after an inspection had most of its equipment removed being deemed unsafe. This left the Jupiter unit as the parks only remaining play structure. Soon there followed complaints by parents about the removal of the play equipment and the shrinking of the park. Burntisland Community Council got together with Fife Council Parks department to look into a solution and potential funding. As Russell Play supplied the surviving climbing frame they were invited to look at the park and see what could be done. After consultation with the parties involved including the children at Burntisland Primary School they came up with a plan.

From left; Jupiter, Boo and Tri combined to make a larger play unit and varied play experience.


The questions for Russell Play were firstly, can elements be added to expand the remaining play unit with a view to giving a new lease of life and interest to the play area? Then, can these other play units be linked to it and work with it stylistically and not look out of place? Russell Play knew there were various solutions and set to work on a design. Russell Play prepared a visual as part of a plan in order to get funding. Funding came from different sources including the community themselves who also rallied with various funding events.

Three fun play experiences in one
The solution that Russell Play proposed was to extend the remaining rope play unit with two units from Berliner’s Greenville range: Trii and Peak. Trii was conceived as a new take on the traditional tree house and has qualities like that of the tree house play experience for children. That is, a house structure atop a tall stem accessible by ladders or rope net with windows to look out. The natural palette of green and brown and the bamboo wood slats used in Trii are all elements relating to its original inspiration. The great advantage of Trii is that it does not need trees or a wooded area to be realised so it can be installed in any kind of play environment.

Side view of Trii unit in 'Spider Park' showing large slide.

The other unit ‘Peak’ is closely related to the Trii in that it has platforms to climb up to with ladders and climbing posts. Peak also shares the same materials and colours as the Trii but the main difference is the roofed house element is on the ground and the high platform is open at the top. These units add other kinds of activities like a large stainless steel slide on the Trii, bridge rope ladders, viewing platforms, climbing posts as well as great scope for imaginative play. The three units are connected by two rope suspension bridges with the Peak unit in the middle. The rope net of the original Jupiter climbing frame was replaced and the steel structure painted to match in with the two new attachments. The addition of the Access Swing -an inclusive basket swing- to the play area adds more variety in terms of activities.

“The play area has been a tremendous success and has been in use constantly since it opened. The community had a clear vision of what they wanted to achieve and to specifically retain the identity of the park which is known locally as Spider Park. Burntisland is very much a family destination and it is a very important facility for residents and visitors during the summer. Russell Play provided a great design solution which enabled the community to retain their climbing frame and the Spider Park will be enjoyed by many for years to come.”

Clair Lovett, Parks Development Officer, Fife Council



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Download the 'Spider Park’ play area upgrade, Burntisland, Fife case study as pdf.