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CLAREMONT SPECIAL SCHOOL, BRISTOL


We have recently completed a lovely new playground for Claremont Special School in Bristol, transforming a tired old macadam yard into an all-weather green space for the children to enjoy.

In the centre of the scheme is a large rain and shade canopy, big enough to shelter from driving rain or cast shade over a whole class in the height of summer. Around the canopy there is a field of artificial grass, wheelchair accessible and soft to touch for the children. There is a footpath circuit for the children, which includes a wooden sensory tunnel about 7m long. In the tunnel the path ripples up and down, with the surface covered in different textures of resin bonded gravel. The children appreciate going up and down in their wheelchairs and enjoy the gentle rumbling from the rough gravel – it makes a change from the normal smooth surfaces they experience around the school.

Planting design is simple, with grasses for movement, a Hebe hedge for flowers and evergreener, tactile plants, flowering trees and birch for dappled shade. We have also designed a water play feature using butler sinks and aluminium guttering. The top sink can be filled from the tap and let out into a plant bed at the end of the day once play has finished. That way we avoid the risks of dirty standing water. We have also included a mud box for really mucky explorative play. The scheme also included a swathe of rubber crumb surfacing by the school hall, as a ‘break out area’ for the children to relax on. A deck and ramp were also built, to provide direct access to the playground from one of the classes.
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