Dec 07, 2019 Last Updated 10:52 AM, Aug 14, 2019

London park increases footfall with waterplay

Published in Product Innovation
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Peckham Rye Park is an open space within the London Borough of Southwark. A vibrant community space, Peckham Rye has been engaged in an improvement programme over the past few years, which has included the construction of a new car park, refurbished cafe and the new play space which was opened in July 2018. The play facilities have a significant water component and comprise a range of play landscapes which reflect and enhance the natural surroundings of the historic common.


From the outset, the designer, Turkington Martin, intended to create a flexible play area that offers non-prescriptive play opportunities. Rather than a standard play area, the design set out to create a space with a unique identity, presenting a predominantly natural character in keeping with the setting, reinforced through the choice of equipment, materials and planting.

Peckham Rye play succeeds in these objectives, marking the park out as a destination play space, particularly as it features a great deal of waterplay which proved extremely popular throughout the hot summer of 2018. Set within natural boulders, the waterplay comprises a playground pump and splash pump, with lock gate and water switch so children can control the flow of the water. However, it is the innovative landscaping that really elevates this space to something out of the ordinary. Utilising profiled concrete has created a striking look for the play area, channels and rivulets for the water to flow through and pockets where water can collect and children can paddle and splash.

Alongside the waterplay, which is undoubtedly one of the best forms of play, Turkington Martin also designed a significant sandplay area into the site.

This combination of sand and water realises great play potential as children experiment with the combination of both substances and see how the different proportions impact on the properties of the materials. The addition of a building site within the sand area encourages children to work together, lifting, moving and transporting the sand, promoting great social play and supporting the development of communication skills.

A platform house was selected as it presents enduring play value for younger children, ideal for role- and socialplay. The addition of a wide slide and climbing net also means the entry and exit points are, in turn, challenging and thrilling.

Older children and teenagers are also offered the excitement of a rotating disc and climbing forest, presenting multiple levels of challenge to push children to develop their physical skills.

Intuitive design from Turkington Martin has embraced the playable potential of the landscape, utilising large mounds and interesting planting. A tree house gives children an excellent vantage point, and a tunnel slide and various net components enable children to clamber amongst the treetops, getting a unique perspective on Peckham Park.

Joe Todd, Associate at Turkington Martin, comments: “We worked well with Timberplay from the outset to design a bespoke, challenging play experience sympathetic to the natural character of Peckham Rye Park and Common. The climbing forest and waterplay, in particular, have proved enormously popular with children of all ages and abilities.”

The brief for Peckham Rye had bold intentions to create a real stand-out playspace, and the immense popularity of the site demonstrates just how well these have been realised. As a council-owned playspace, the long-term care of the site was also at the forefront of the design and one of the key objectives was to create a robust space that is easy to maintain over many years. Timberplay is proud to have been involved in such an innovative and exciting playspace.

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