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Diana, Princess of Wales’ Memorial Playground

July 1, 2012

This morning I visited this playground which is a memorial to the late Princess of Wales.  I was struck by the following quote posted on the sign on the entrance gate:

“The facilities provided comply with European and British legislation.  However it is now recognised that risk taking is an important element of play and physical development.  Parents and carers must note that the design of this playground does allow for a degree of risk.  This is intentionally provided so your child can develop an appreciation of risk in a controlled play environment rather than taking similar risks in the uncontrolled and unregulated wider world.  If you wish to seek further information about this or other aspects of the playground please ask the playground staff, whose role is to monitor and educate parents, carers, and children.”

While I did not notice any play provision that seemed extraordinarily risky, I did find that there were impressive opportunities for children to climb on thick-gauge ropes, as can be seen below in pictures of the large wooden pirate ship, and there were numerous out-of-the-way dens and tunnels and ‘secret places’ that the children could occupy if they wished among the lovely flowering bushes and hedges.  It was interesting to me to see just how easy it was for children to disappear from their parents’ gaze, as children wandered off down shady paths or into different sections of the playground, leaving their parents behind with no sightline to keep a visual awareness of their child’s whereabouts.  It was lovely to see the vast amount of sand provided beneath the pirate ship and also in the adjacent sand/ water play area, with flowing water amongst large and small rocks and boulders, for splashing, digging, and pretend play.  And there were tepees!  It’s not everyday you see tepees on a playground, but as you can see they were an excellent source of shade, and I saw several families in them enjoying picnics.  Please enjoy the photographs below.

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