Massey and Harris partners with Capco to create a magical woodland adventure play created in the Savill Garden at The Crown Estate’s Windsor Great Park

Challenge

In March 2019 we were asked by fellow play design company and long time partner CAPCO to visit a woodland area in the Savill Garden at Windsor Great Park.  The vision was to create a magical woodland play experience with multiple tree houses, rope bridges, slides and a play village for the younger children.

There were significant technical challenges in bringing the proposed playscape to life, including the accessibility into the woodland location, the size and weight of some of the supporting steels, the angled design of the supporting steels and the sheer number of piles that we needed to match with all of the supporting base plates. 

Every one of the support legs was designed to be leaning in either one or two directions, which really added to the complexity.

Translating the structural engineers’ drawings into a 3D model and then a working play area, required an extremely high level of accuracy for the project to be a success.

In addition to the steelwork there were 15 slides and crawl tunnels to design and manufacture ranging from 1.2m high to 5.5m high and including a roller slide, which was a first for us and another interesting engineering challenge

Process

A 3D model was built up within our SolidWorks CAD package using CAPCO’s design specifications and the engineers’ steel drawings.  Over 100 piles were installed on site, which required a full digital survey, the result of which was then imported by our design team into the working 3D model.

The huge job of converting the approved 3D model into manufacturing drawings and DWG files for laser cutting was completed in-house by our talented design team and the project moved into manufacture.

Over 47 tonnes of steel was cut and machined for us to fabricate all of the steel components, which were galvanised and powdercoated before heading to Windsor to be installed by our team on site.

Solution

The completed project was a Courtyard play area for younger children and the Woodland play experience for the older children and adults.

Every support leg matched up with every piling plate, which is testament to the incredible job that the design team did with the accuracy of their 3D model and diligence with the drawings.

 

One of the crawl tunnels was over 15 metres long and connected in 4 locations, this was also a technical challenge that required interim surveys, but dropped into place and is a real eye catching feature with the Woodland area.

The complexity for our installation team came in the size and weight of some of the steel that was needed and the precision required to fit to the piles on the ground. 

Also, access onsite within the woodland was limited in order to protect the tree roots, even for a small spider crane.  With 47 tonnes of steel to install, some elements weighing 86kg/m and running at 6 meter lengths, it was always going to be a challenging installation, but once complete looked fantastic.

Result

In terms of volume of steel, this was our largest ever installation and the most number of slides that we have installed on one site.

The play area provides the opportunity for hundreds of children to play at the same time, in turn helping Windsor Great Park achieve stellar throughput. 

As with most playscapes of this size, the park sits within a private area of the grounds accessible with a two-hour paid ticket option which pays back on the significant investment and will quickly become a positive revenue stream.