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Keenan Park is a council owned park located near Pennine View Primary School in Carlisle. Facilities at the park include allotments, full-sized football pitches with a changing pavilion, and a children’s play area.

The Issue

While the existing playground benefitted from a shade sail canopy and wet pour surfacing, the area had become tired. The school wanted to improve its outdoor play provision with a play space that would harness personal, emotional, language and physical development for the early years, while allowing the children to have fun!

The Resolution

Carlisle City Council wanted to build a new play area next to the existing playground to offer a more interesting, aesthetically appealing and inclusive play environment for families and children who already use the facilities, and to increase the number of people who use the park.

The new play area needed to offer a safe environment that would encourage imaginative play and provide a more physically and mentally challenging play environment for children up to the age of fourteen.

The Process

The contract was put out to tender by the council, and following community consultation, Sovereign was awarded the work.  According to Carlisle City Council, Sovereign’s bid was successful because they were “really impressed with the thought that went into the design… another aspect was the cost – we were pleasantly surprised to find Sovereign came in with the most competitive pricing.”

The main focus of the winning design was the creation of a new, non-directional ‘youth’ adventure trail for children of all abilities and ages, from the very young to teenagers as old as fourteen, that would interact seamlessly with the existing Greenfield site that surrounds the play area. This would create a visually appealing play space that would provide huge scope for play for a wide range of children.

The Installation

The new design was a complete departure from the original play area, so the scope of work undertaken was wide reaching and involved considerable landscaping.

The open-plan, unfenced design featured a wide range of timber structures and green materials to ensure the new area would blend with the surrounding parkland.

Undulating grass mounds and bunkers were constructed to create interest, and promote spontaneous and imaginative play. To ensure the grass would survive extreme wear and tear, each mound and ‘ravine’ was finished in high quality top soil and turf.

With longevity in mind, where necessary Sovereign installed grass matting ‘wear pads’, which help to prevent erosion of areas that experience heavy footfall.  These mats were chased in to prevent trip hazards. In addition to extending the lifespan of the play area, the grass matting will help to maintain its visual appeal and will guard against areas becoming slippery under foot.

In addition to the practical and aesthetic solutions, Sovereign’s design also incorporated a wide range of play equipment, which would offer unstructured play and provide children of different ages with challenges befitting their abilities.

Included in this equipment were a 25m timber zip wire, a log basket swing, rope bridges, and scramble nets and climbers. Other equipment installed included a rock climbing wall, an embankment slide and zigzag walkways.

Sovereign also embedded large, rounded boulders into the ground at various positions around the trail, to provide seating for parents and carers, and of course, an additional obstacle for the children to use for play.

Sovereign completed the work to budget and time, within just seventeen days.

The Benefits

  • Attracts a much wider range of children
  • Provides unstructured play to encourage physical, mental and social development
  • Aesthetically pleasing; blends with the local parkland
  • Area is purpose-built and safe, allowing children to play freely with minimal parental supervision required
case study keenan park

We were really impressed with the thought that went into the design, and our community consultation had Sovereign’s proposal as the clear favourite. Another aspect was the cost – we were pleasantly surprised to find that Sovereign came in with the most competitive pricing.

Carlisle City Council

The installation was done very professionally and, importantly, very quickly. The finish is very good and the aftercare excellent. Finally, the real test – would the local youngsters like it? A resounding ‘Yes!’ to that one, judging by the number of children using the play trail since it was finished.

Carlisle City Council

Many thanks to Sovereign for a job well done!

Carlisle City Council
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