Halstead Public Gardens is the quintessentially Victorian garden, complete with a bandstand and beautifully maintained flower beds. The brief was to create an inclusive play garden in keeping with the tone of the park and maximising play value for all children. Our approach to inclusion is to explore play opportunities that engage the six senses (omitting taste – a tricky one to deliver in playgrounds!) which is always delivered best in a natural play space. The tone of the space is to provide tranquillity and connection to wildlife and planting and with a small space and budget has created a well-loved neighbourhood space for all.
The project was jointly funded by Braintree District Council and Halstead in Bloom, who work in partnership to maintain the multi-award-winning picturesque gardens that are popular with local residents and visitors alike.
Braintree District Council consulted on the proposed design with Acorn Children’s Centre, Barnardo’s, Essex County Council, Play and Resources Centre (PARC) in Great Notley, Friends of Halstead Public Gardens, Halstead Town Council and Halstead in Bloom. Children from Halstead’s Little Pickles Nursery also went along to help embed some of the new plants and try out the new equipment.
Halstead in Bloom secretary Julia Smith added: “The Halstead in Bloom team was thrilled to be able to bring this project to fruition. The area is now in keeping with the rest of the gardens and will allow more visitors to enjoy, relax and play. We are looking forward to seeing the smiles on families and children’s faces from the experiences the new play area equipment and sensory plants will bring.”