Flights of Fantasy’s legacy at the National Trust’s Wallington Hall has finished its third chapter: the first being the 4.5 tonne, 40 foot train and the second being Wallington station which sits alongside the train.
After the official opening in a glorious July heatwave, visitors to Wallington Hall were treated to a labyrinth of beautifully crafted oak tunnels, walkways, and climbing trails. This fort is the embodiment of the fort that the Trevelyan children used at Wallington in the 1930’s and 40’s.
The Brief: To Be The Heart Of The Forest
The entire structure is absolutely surrounded by forest which had an important role to play in the design. Harmony with the equipment’s surroundings is a key feature of our design, especially when in a natural environment such as this. We delicately tailored this play area to become part of the forest itself, and the effects were sensational. The National Trust wanted an English Hardwood construction that would blend into the woodland and this will, in time, weather down to a mix of silver greys and soft greens. These soft, natural colours will blend into the forest so that visitors seamlessly stumble upon this magical fort in the woods.
Attention to detail is of great importance in everything that we produce and the final touch in our design was to add this wooden bear carving, greeting everyone who visits. Characters such as this will be remembered and talked about by children, encouraging them to want to revisit.
Materials and Imagination: A Natural Play Area
Built exclusively of oak and cedar, the play fort also features a carved larch Grizzly Bear. The oak and cedar, both durable timbers, are untreated and the fort will gently grey down to blend with the grey green trunks of the nearby beeches, sitting in dappled sunlight in a natural clearing. Like the train, which can be enigmatically glimpsed from a nearby hilltop, you see the fort only when you are upon it (although the shrieks of laughter of playing children do give it away long before you see it).
This is natural, rural play at its best and we are very proud of it.
Accessories and Apparatus To Add To Wallington Hall’s Collection
- Natural Wood Climb Trail
- Rope V-Bridge
- Two-Storey Timber Structure
- Multiple Climbing Walls
- Multiple Climbing Ladders
- Slide Pole
- Hidden Den Underneath Walkway
- Aerial Walkway
- Climb Ropes
Project Summary: Another Successful Chapter Completed
A thick ground cover of natural woodchip gives a safe, deep, fall area. Up to 50 leaping, whirling, running, dancing children and soldiers can be accommodated on this installation and it has been reported to us by our friends at Wallington that it is a huge success.
Who knows? Maybe Flights of Fantasy hasn’t finished at Wallington Hall just yet. What we do know is that from now on, when visiting Wallington Hall, children will have to decide where to visit first: the train station with its locomotive or the fort. We hope they are both enjoyed for many, many years to come.
Constructing The Play Area
Please take a look at the timelapse to see how we put this forest play area together.
Wallington Hall Station and Locomotive
The oak fort was not our first creation at Wallington Hall – We had already designed, constructed, and installed the Wallington Hall train station and locomotive play area. Sitting between the trees, it is quite a sight for unsuspecting visitors. Read more and see more pictures of Wallington Station.
Wallington Hall Food Hut
As part of the family friendly site, we built a food hut at Wallington Hall, offering food, snacks, and drinks in the forest grounds.
The following are public reviews posted on TripAdvisor
- ‘Children’s play with a fort railway station and yurt keeps them busy for hours!’ paulw1001
- ‘And as soon as we entered the estate they charged off in search of adventure – the seven and four-year-old headed straight for the play area, closely followed by the almost-two-year-old. Swings, climbing frames, trim trails and lots of sticks to play with and inspire their imagination. But their favourite play area was the wooden castle climbing frame complete with rope bridges, climbing wall and lots of ladders and windows to peep in and out of.
A big hit – even with the eldest child (18!!)’ CarolyneC19
- ‘A fantastic…and I mean fantastic childens’ play area and woodland activities’ Susan D
- ‘A wonderful place […] We were particularly impressed with the children’s play areas and train and station.’ Thomas D
- ‘The kiddies love the different play areas’ HNcc
- ‘As we have young children, we spend alot of our time there in the various children’s play parks, the particular favourites of our 7 & 3 year old boys are the fort park and the train park.’ Daftgit
- ‘My sons made significant use of the excellent play areas (closer to the house) and would probably have spent most of the day there, given half the chance!’ Neldoo
- ‘The children play areas have improved and are perfect for children of all ages.’ geordielass96
- ‘Family friendly- children will love this place […] Could easily spend a whole day here’ Paul C
- ‘One of the best [National] Trust play areas.’ Allans1519
- ‘The provision of the children’s play areas are excellent and great fun can be had in the children’s fort and railway station.’ Lesley E
- ‘My four children really loved the play areas.’ Hannah M
- ‘we took a short walk to the first play area which the grandson loved. Next it was onto the play area with the train, this too was great fun […] Thirdly the favourite for our grandson had to be the wooden fort. He absolutely loved this and we ended up staying there quite a while.’ GatesheadCheekychops
- ‘Love it, brilliant for all the family, […] a firm favourite with great play areas for the kids.’ Debbie N
- ‘importantly the children got to play on and loved the play areas!’ Malcolm W
- ‘Kids loved the play park and train play park.’ D E
- ‘the kids loved the play grounds’ Paul M
- ‘My kids loved the several play parks dotted round the grounds’ Vicki B
- ‘brilliant children’s play areas’ geeklove
- ‘Super play areas for children’ Driffenbeg
Let Your Imagination Run Away With You
Please use this project, as well as our other outdoor play areas and play castles / forts, to generate inspiration for your own creation. As you can see from the photos, the play value is immense and themes are limitless. We look forward to pushing ourselves even further in the future.
Please don’t hesitate to get in contact with us to discuss your own project and we will be happy to talk you through the design process.
For pricing information, please refer to our pricing page or get in contact with us to make an enquiry and discuss a potential project. You can also take a look at our other outdoor play areas.