This exciting and innovative play area was created in 2011 by Thornham Magna Community Open Spaces (TMCOS) in partnership with Thornham Walks, Mid Suffolk District Council and the Thornham Estate, with funding and support from Groundwork UK's Community Spaces scheme part of the Big Lottery.
The goal was to create a playground that fitted in with the natural environment, that was green and sustainable and that was able to inspire adventure, creativity and play in a safe place. The need and vision for the Thornham play area came from feedback from a 2009 village survey, followed by consultation with children from Thornham Magna and Thornham Parva. The children were asked to draw pictures and/or describe the activities they enjoy. The survey revealed the most popular activities were swinging, climbing, jumping, sliding and going round and round.
An old oak tree dominates the play area and so this theme was woven into some of the creative elements, including the bench covered in carved oak leaves, and the giant acorn. There are wooden sculpted animals and a tree is used as a climbing structure. The material predominantly used is wood, the majority of which was donated directly from the woodland on the Thornham Estate.
Local artisan, Andy Ish, carved the oak leaf bench and acorn, local artist Andy Manning carved the insect-inspired leap frog posts and Ben Platt Mills oversaw the creative aspects of the play area and carved the squirrel and badger. Working as a team they created a bespoke climbing and sliding structure from a resident oak tree.
We are extremely grateful for all the help we received from volunteers to create the play area, who came from the local village, Thornham Walks, Burston Partnerships in Care, Halesworth Mencap and Lapwing Suffolk.