We were lucky to be able to use the time afforded to us during lock-down to undertake some projects that wouldn’t normally have been possible during a busy wedding season – and the beautiful weather meant that we were able to really focus on our gardens. A small team led by Emma’s father Gary spent weeks clearing a forgotten and overgrown corner at the bottom of the orchard.
The orchard was restored to its former glory, re-lawned and a whole new area was discovered past the trees, just waiting for something great to fill it. With all the effort that Gary had put in to make the area bramble free, we knew it deserved some real time and thought to create a brilliant new feature to the gardens. It’s a really sunny spot and a generous space, and we felt it could be fun as a place to play. A climbing frame for adventurous play would be ideal, but we wanted to ensure it would be something really sympathetic to our natural setting that would blend in, but inspire the children who visit Treseren too.
It was then that we discovered Alistair Guy Playgrounds and knew at once we wanted them to make something unique and special for Treseren. A family run Cornish business, Alistair and his team design and construct unique adventure playgrounds using sustainable natural materials.
‘Our bespoke play designs fuse our clients’ ideas with our own creative flair. The result is lovingly crafted natural play spaces that blend beautifully with their environment – and which are built to endure. What’s more, the value of our designs to the children who will use them is central to our plans. We carefully consider how best to create a fun, inspiring and imagination-igniting experience for young people.’
This combination of exciting and creative design with a sustainable approach was exactly what we were looking for, as it is part of our ethos at Treseren to ensure we partner with companies who work with the environment in mind. It is also very important to us to work with local companies and engage other Cornwall and UK based businesses. Alistair has been creating amazing play spaces for over 30 years – a story which began with building ‘Adventure Play’ for the famous Elephant Fair Festival at Port Eliot in Cornwall.
Our wooden playground was designed and built by Alastair and his son Samuel and is to be enjoyed as a ‘journey’ so that children can enter from different points, for example the rope bridge and find different ways to explore climbing up and through the tower. We could not believe the speed at which the tower was constructed! Most of the work was done in the weeks preceding off-site and it took just two days for Sam and Alastair to put it together on site, all captured in Paul’s time-lapse video –
The team have their own woodland at their base near Launceston and our climbing frame was made from a sweet chestnut tree planted nearly 40 years ago by Alastair. This tree was strategically planted to protect and then make way for the oak trees planted alongside it, so it was always planned to be felled during this time frame. In planting terms, it is called a ‘nurse’ tree; where faster growing trees are planted to shelter smaller, slower growing trees. This replicates ancient systems of sustainable forestry known as silviculture, still widely practiced in France and Germany, where they have successfully grown generation after generation of healthy oak trees.
On day three, the play area had its ROSPA safety inspection and once passed, our little girl Georgia and her friend Honor did some testing and playing!
We will be adding play bark in the next few weeks, and log stepping stones to lead to the climbing area, so it is not quite finished. But it has already been lots of fun for the families visiting Treseren. Lovely couple Ben and Shannon got married at Treseren in August with their four children aged between four and fifteen and they had great fun in the gardens. Shannon even climbed the tower in her wedding dress!
This was such a relaxed and fun-filled wedding, and they followed their special day with a week’s ‘family moon’ holiday, so our new play area got lots of use!
Together with the outdoor table tennis and barbecue, Treseren offers lots of opportunities for play and family time. We love the atmosphere and fun of a family wedding and look forward to welcoming lots more families for their weddings and holiday stays next year.
With thanks to –
Gary, Emma’s dad and great friends Sue and Pat for all their efforts clearing the area in lock-down
Sam and Alastair Guy for their skill, knowledge and inspiration
Unlocking Potential for their support of the project and the grant which helped us to create this special structure for all our visitors from the young, to the young at heart