Apr 30, 2017 Last Updated 10:20 AM, Apr 28, 2017

Wicksteed helps provide a jaw-dropping play feature

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Watch out, there’s a shark about and it’s residing in the Shoreham area of Sussex. Taking centre stage on a totally revamped play area at Fishersgate Rec, this eye-catching Wicksteed-designed shark’s head climber is really causing a bit of a stir.

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The park is very much at the heart of the community and volunteers from Friends of Fishersgate Rec (FoFR), who are all about the regeneration of the recreation ground, have been tirelessly raising funds to replace old equipment there for about three years. Together with extra funds from Adur District Council and grants from both Shoreham Port Regeneration and Veolia, the exciting project has now been fully realised.

Happy and energised

Nationally famous for its bespoke service, inspirational creations and great play value, Wicksteed was commissioned to design and install the fantastic new scheme to keep both toddlers and older children happy and energised. The team shaped a unique look and special identity for this much longed-for, revitalised playground.

Standing 2.5m tall, the shark’s head rises out of the soft surfacing, its enormous teeth shining from its massive jaws as it challenges the most daring of visitors to clamber on its sharp snout. The original Rockscape model – by which the shark’s head was inspired – was designed by British mountaineers based upon their own considerable climbing experience.

The design and install process

Once the final bespoke design has been drawn and approved, the Rockscape is then created on site, which saves huge transport and logistic issues. Carefully transcribed from a scaled model, the form is then reinforced with a steel mesh before being sprayed with colour-impregnated concrete to a depth of 150mm and then the detail is applied according to the commissioned piece.

Not only is the shark’s head a fantastic-looking climbing feature of this playground, but the fact that it is bespoke demonstrates perfectly Wicksteed’s capacity to design almost any shape within its Rockscapes range to particularly individualise a site. In this case, it was an obvious choice to make the subject of the rock climber something from the sea due to the recreation ground’s location, and a shark is clearly going to make quite a statement, but absolutely anything goes!

Additionally, other play products within Wicksteed’s wide range can be incorporated with a Rockscape to further enhance the physicality of the play experience for visitors. Customers have often requested slides and climbing nets, for example, to be attached to standard units which all help to augment both the challenges offered and the immediate appeal of the product.

Fitness provision

Fishersgate is the largest green space in the area for local residents to really enjoy and this £97k project has made a huge difference to outdoor play and fitness provision. Surrounding the shark’s head Rockscape – which really does make a brilliant centrepiece – are other exciting products for a range of ages. These include a thrilling timber Cableway Slide – always a favourite which will often have queues forming to use it – and a BuddyBoard, which is exactly what it describes, a rocking board to be enjoyed with a couple of buddies, or alone if preferred.

Interactive play equipment

For the younger element, among other products Wicksteed supplied and installed, there are a range of interactive, sensory Play Panels which encourage users to turn and twist tactical dials, a colourful Play Table which gives the little ones a special place of their own to sit and socialise and a timber Pick Up Sticks unit which consists of twisted logs at various levels providing a bit more of a physical challenge for the younger kids.

Clever playful landforms have also been created with the addition of a High Mound and Wide Slide feature with colourful graphics applied to the surfacing below. Not only does the Mound provide a bit of extra height, but the double-width inclusive slide featured on one side allows less able-bodied children to use it with a friend or carer by their side as they slide down safely together.

Both the Friends of Fishersgate Rec and the local community are simply delighted with the end result and are already seeing a huge amount of extra visitors flocking to the rejuvenated play area to experience all that the site now has to offer during the long school summer holidays.

The shark has already generated a lot of interest – not only from the locals who are curious and excited at seeing such a beast in their midst, but also wider afield, with key decision-makers in the business of providing outdoor play provision who may be keen to install a similarly inspiring and exclusive bespoke Rockscape for their own communities.

Wicksteed prides itself on its design creativity capabilities in order to produce inspirational outdoor playground equipment, whilst always ensuring conformance to the European Safety Standard EN 1176.

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