The amazing new destination play park at Abbey Meadows in Oxfordshire officially opened on Thursday June 15th. With the local Mayor in attendance to cut the proverbial red ribbon, local children rushed to sample the fantastic new equipment on offer.
The playspace forms part of a major £615,000 regeneration program to improve Abbey Meadow and help attract more visitors throughout the course of the year. It is designed around the Grand Abbey, which, in turn, is based on the famous Abingdon Abbey, originally built in the seventh century.
The bespoke playground features plenty of space for children to exercise and socialise, including climbing towers, wobbly bridges and climbing nets. Next to the Grand Abbey Climbing Unit, and mirroring the scene of the neighbouring River Thames, is the ‘Abingdon Lock’ river scene, a sensory area and play garden, as well as an area for ball games, featuring lots of traditional play equipment and a thrilling zip wire.
The sensory area and play garden is a great place for toddlers to explore, while the new pathway ensures the whole site is fully accessible for those with disabilities. There is plenty of inclusive equipment such as a broad slide, trampoline and roundabout.
It’s not all brand new gear at Abbey Meadows though; it was decided to retain some of the original items and refurbish them. Equipment such as the much loved rocking horse, the favourite slide and some benches have survived and seamlessly integrated into the brand new areas.
Work progressed quicker than expected following the original tender process in the autumn of 2016. Despite some interesting challenges for the installation team – the park was built on an old refuse site – the project was completed on time with support from specialist tree experts and environmental officers. “It’s incredible what gets excavated sometimes during a site survey or installation,” commented Ben Neaves, eibe’s project manager.
Working in tandem with Ruth Cross, Leisure Development Officer, Corporate Strategy for South Oxfordshire and Vale of White Horse District Councils, the eibe team took great care and attention when uncovering anything untoward and ensured that all the safety surfacing could be laid safely on the regenerated ground.
As part of the £320,000 overhaul of Abbey Meadows, the recreation facility features attractive green areas and mounds, alongside several meandering paths weaving around the newly installed equipment. This gives the playspace not ease of accessibility, but also a cosmetically appealing landscape, full of vibrant colour and clever designs.
Certainly, if the feedback from four year old Emily Crean is anything to go by, Abbey Meadows is going to be very bust this summer…