17 Feb New outdoor adventure playground launching at Stonor Park
Posted at 13:46h
Stonor Park in Oxfordshire, one of Britain’s oldest stately homes, is launching a brand-new project, to stimulate both the minds and bodies of our youngest generation – just in time for what’s hoped will be a spring release from lockdown.
Inspired by the ancient stone circle situated in the grounds, the estate has spent £250,000 on “Tumblestone Hollow” – an innovative new adventure playground, and a brand-new children’s book – “The Legend of Tumblestone Hollow” – which is based around magical characters that live in and around the playground.
The overriding themes, in both print and in hard wood, are exploration and escapism – at a time when most families are in desperate need of both.
The adventure playground, part-funded by the Culture Recovery Fund for Heritage, has been designed for four to twelve-year-olds and their families. It has been deliberately timed to open on Easter weekend 2021, in the hope that the spring will bring a first opportunity for families to re-unite and share a special day together, following the peak of the coronavirus pandemic.
Speaking of the motivation behind the project, William Stonor explained: “The planning of Tumblestone Hollow has been nearly eighteen months in the making. However, with the onset of coronavirus, lockdowns, and the effect this has had on children, it became evident to us that outdoor spaces like this are needed more than ever.
“We decided to focus on providing families and children with something truly magical and exceptional, somewhere they would feel free to explore, discover nature and enjoy safe, outdoor play.
“When so many children and adults have had little or no access to big, open spaces or recreation, our hope is that these wonderful new areas at Stonor will give families the perfect chance to get out and about together”.
Constructed to the highest safety standards from sustainably sourced chestnut, Tumblestone Hollow sits harmoniously within Stonor’s glorious parkland, surrounded by the stunning Chiltern hills.
Large boulders within the playground recreate Stonor’s original ancient stone circle, from which the house takes its name, giving the sense that the play area has always nestled in these woods. High level walkways, climbing nets, look-out decks and bridges, all connected by a quirky, gnarled central tower.
Inside, a spiral of steps takes adventurers from ground level to the top look-out deck, where they will have views across the whole playground and access to the connecting bridges and towers – perfect for the kids to burn off some energy while parents and grandparents rest up and watch on from the giant wooden benches surrounding the playground, enjoying an Illy coffee or wood-fired pizza and other refreshment from The Hollow Hut, a new and rustic Shepherd’s hut.
Having explored the fantastical Tumblestone Hollow playground, the magic can continue at home, when families share the stories inside “The Legend of Tumblestone Hollow”. The book introduces whimsical characters who live and play in and around the playground. Aimed at two to eight-year-olds, it has been written by well-known children’s author Amy Sparkes, and is a brilliantly imagined 20-page rhyming story. The story is accompanied with magical illustrations by Steve Pearce.
“There are so many wonderful stories and myths connected with this ancient site, Stonor is perfectly suited to storytelling and we are immensely pleased to be working with Amy” said Lady Ailsa Stonor.
“It brings the mysticism of Stonor to life and provides inspiration for children to create their own games and stories around our five special characters Pebble, Grit, Obsidian, Jem and Flint, who live at Tumblestone Hollow.
“We really hope it will spark children’s imaginations, with characters that will stay with them as they grow up.”
The Legend of Tumblestone Hollow’ is available from the Visitor Centre at Stonor and costs £5.99.
Opening at Easter 2021, the playground can be accessed separately to the house and gardens. Easter Egg Trail Prices: adults £8.50, children over 105cm £11.00, Children 92cm to 105cm £8.50, children under 92cm go free.
Standard Prices at other times: adults £8.50, children over 105cm £8.50, children 92cm to 105cm £6.50, children under 92cm go free.