The day I visited the Kate Greenway Nursery was also the day I visited Glamis Adventure Playground which also goes by the name of The Shadwell Community Project. I’m still digesting the experience. It was the playground equivalent of being given a Michelin Five-Star Meal. I’m still savouring the taste, smells, sights and sounds of the place that linger on in my memories, aided and abetted by photos.
One blog post probably won’t do, so I’ll drip feed thoughts as they arise. So today the thoughts are on the swings. Apparently there are thirteen different types of swing at this playground. I don’t think I found them all but, hey – the ones I did were great. The one below is one which I fell in love with. The swing may be broken in that in the centre there is just one swing. Normally there are two as this adds to the excitement and fun of potentially bumping into the other person on a swing…
It can double up as an interesting game of tag. You can run around the wooden boards but also jump on a swing to cut across to catch or escape from someone. Very clever!
Below is a huge swing – one of the others which dominated one part of the playground. If you look there are three platforms to use – each one providing a different height. Underneath this area there are lots of loose parts and bits and pieces for children to build their own dens and other structures.
The eight-swing octagon structure is really interesting. Each swing is different. Some are high and trapeze-like. Others are more traditional. Apparently, the swings can be used independently, but a lot of fun can be had playing a game of swing football. Each person is on a swing and is effectively a goalie. The aim is to avoid letting the ball through your goals yet hanging onto your swing at the same time. If a goal is scored then everyone moves around to a new swing.
Whilst this is clever enough in its own right, another interesting venture has happened. As indicated in the photo below, a eucalyptus tree has been planted beside each of the big posts. The plan is that once the big posts are no long suitable for supporting the structure, the trees will take over. What a lovely way to green up a playground!
The zip-wire was constantly in use. I like these because in every part of the country they are given different names such as “Flying Fox” or the “Death Swing”(!)
Tucked away amongst the myriad of structures was this little social swing for two children. Do you see the chains on both sides?
I really liked the cluttered environment surrounding this swing. You could hang out here to be in on the action all around it, especially to keep an eye on the fire pit.
Compare this to its gigantic cousin. This swing for a gang of children is slightly different in that the four chains are hung differently so the swing travels in a range of directions…
The hammock swings were tucked away within a much larger climbing structure. It seemed a quieter place – a bit of a chill zone.
A couple of floors above, there was a solitary tyre swing. So alone and different from many of the other more public social swings.
When I was 12 years old I remember thinking I would never get tired of swinging on a swing. I think that thought largely remains true even today except I was too busy taking photos to have a go.
Whilst looking for more information about Glamis and other adventure playgrounds in London, I stumbled across lots of blogs with beautiful photos. Checkout:
- The Playscapes Blog
- UK Adventure Playground
- Morgan Leichter-Saxby’s Blog
- Penny Wilson’s Blog (no photos but some interesting text)
- A video interview with Bernard Spiegal by Penny Wilson
Thanks again to Paige Johnson and Tim Gill for organising the visit and the staff and children at Glamis for their friendly welcome.