Cherry Tree Park, Play Area Creation

Taylor Wimpey
Taylor Wimpey | 2021 | Shavington

Cherry Tree Park, Play Area Creation

Taylor Wimpey Manchester approached idverde in 2020 to help create a natural open space to complement their new housing development in Cherry Tree Park, Shavington.

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idverde was contacted after Taylor Wimpey’s budget wasn’t compatible with the previously approved drawings for the site. Working with idverde and Cheshire East, a plan was delivered that gave the community the space they deserved, whilst maintaining quality and saving £40,000.

As the theme of the original planning drawings was based around the founder of Chester Zoo, Roger Bebbington, idverde ensured that the new plans also centred around this theme by installing wooden equipment and hand-crafted animal sculptures.

Cherry Tree Park

idverde's responsibility

idverde reviewed the equipment on offer and stayed as close to the age ranges and play values as possible. To ensure that the area could be enjoyed inclusively, idverde also installed Disability Aids (DDA) equipment.

After a few meetings, the planners confirmed the equipment, surfacing and layout. Equipment installed on the site includes a seesaw, slide, balancing block traverse, basket swing and lookout/music playhouse as well as more challenging multi-units for older aged uesers. The additional imaginative play value comes from the pelican footprints in the surfacing, large hand-carved animals and the baby giraffe roundabout. The surfacing is made from recycled rubber mulch, continuing the theme of sustainable materials within the POS.

Main challenges

The original approved design for the public art raised some concerns around maintenance. In response to this, idverde decided to factor in natural items that were low maintenance and still fit within the original zoo theme. We chose sculptures of an elephant, monkey and lion hand-carved by Forest Craft, who create sculptures from trees grown in local woodlands.

Forest Craft made the Monkey sculpture from a single trunk of a tree grown in Douglas Fir. The Lion and Elephant were made from an enormous Scots Pine tree which was felled for safety reasons. The Elephant was made from three large pieces of wood that were joined together and carved. Forest Craft also crafted a Pelican footprint, which was used to create prints within the concrete pads to promote imaginary play by bringing the play area to life.

To bring the sculptures alive, we contacted Chester Zoo, who kindly provided us with the images and text on display for the mammals at their zoo. We added information boards to the site, which will help educate the community and QR codes to find out additional information on animals found at the zoo.

Additionally, idverde incorporated a giraffe roundabout that links to the birth of the baby calf giraffe at the zoo in 2019.

Elephant sculpture Cherry Tree Park

The result

The result of everyone’s efforts, Gallagher TD for the original concept, Forest Craft for these passion project sculptures, Cheshire East, Taylor Wimpey and idverde has provided this new community with an inclusive play area which now boasts a range of natural-looking Robinia equipment for all to enjoy. As well as being a place to play and socialise, the area will help educate young users of the site through information boards and a mini-beast habitat to observe various insects and potential hedgehogs.

“The play area has had a lot of comments with regards to the animal sculptures the local people came into our office to say how lovely it was. Quite a few families also enjoy the play area in the local community. At the weekend the play area is busy with families enjoying the new play area.” - Taylor Wimpey Manchester