From Albany Green to Withywood Park, Bristol has almost 150 brilliant play areas, with a variety of facilities and play equipment for families to enjoy. Ten of these play areas have benefited from exciting refurbishments and improvements over the summer thanks to council investment. So, now is the perfect time to explore a new park.
These improvements include brand new equipment such as zip lines, trim trails and large swings, rubberised safety surfacing, replacing older equipment and extending the dog-free play areas. Young people will also be impressed by the new multi-purpose basketball courts and football pitches. Some play areas have new seating and picnic areas for parents and carers, also giving children space to relax after all the excitement.
Many of these playparks have been designed through collaboration with the communities who use them, including the young people themselves. The designs reflect those who use Bristol’s playparks; requests for communal style picnic seating, accessible equipment and improved access highlight that playparks are for people of all abilities and age groups to meet, move and play.
Outdoor play is vital for children’s physical, mental and emotional health and away from home, playgrounds are the most popular spaces for young people. We recognise that access to quality play is important for Bristol families. They provide a great chance for parents and carers to socialise and are a free way for children to engage in play; and learn valuable life skills.
Councillor Ellie King, Cabinet Member for Communities and Public Health and Labour Councillor for Hillfields ward, has been out and about visiting some of these playparks to ‘test’ out the new equipment. The verdict was that the trimtrails are great fun (and good for the core muscles!), and it’s brilliant to see more accessible entrances and pathways opening up these areas to more children.
So, with fingers crossed for suitable weather, which play area will you choose to explore with the family?
- Stoke Park Estate, Lockleaze – New wooden trim trail and exercise equipment off Romney Avenue.
- Eastville Park Upper Play Area, Eastville – Addition of new swings, zip wire and junior/teen play equipment.
- Mina Road Park, St Werburghs- New MUGA with dual basketball hoops and football goals. A children’s play area is due to be refurbished from early September
- Barton Hill Urban Park, Barton Hill – Renovation of existing play area, including extending dog free area and creating a new large kick-a-bout area, extensive new rubber play surfacing, three new multi-units for toddlers, juniors and teens; new trim trail unit, a new toddler basket swing and large new seating area with grouped picnic benches.
- Newtown Park/Hassell Drive Open Space, Lawrence Hill – Extended dog free area by fencing off large area of grass to extend play area, new larger entrance into play area and relandscaped area to play football. A large new play structure for juniors/teens is due to be installed in the autumn.
- Clifton Suspension Bridge Play Area, Clifton – Extensive drainage works to existing play area and new accessible path installed.
- Maskelyne Avenue Green Space, Horfield – New football goals and seating installed in the open space. New toddler slide to be installed in adjacent play area in autumn.
- Dame Emily Play Area, Bedminster – Refurbishment of an existing climbing play unit, new surfacing under existing play equipment and a new zipwire.
- Guants Ham Park, Barton Hill – New colourful safety surfacing under existing play equipment.
- Lamplighters Open Space Play Area, Shirehampton – New large three swing unit installed
Playpark improvements have been secured through a mixture of fundraising by local park Friends groups, and funding as a result of local developments. As we continue to tackle the housing crisis and deliver historic numbers of new homes, this brings new investment into local areas through the Community Infrastructure Levy. £1.15m of Bristol City Council’s budget has also been invested in Bristol’s play areas since 2021, with £4m more to come by 2024.
Other play areas will see improvement works over the next year, I would encourage everyone to input in upcoming redesigns of your local play park.
For a full list of playparks in Bristol and what equipment and facilities they each have, visit: Find a park with play equipment (bristol.gov.uk)