Over the holidays I was visiting my parents in North Yorkshire. They live in a beautiful small village, from which my Mum has recently started blogging about their business making clocks, furniture and other items from local reclaimed wood.
While I was there I took some photographs of the local play area, which is a beautiful example of less being more when it comes to public play provision. The space is part of the old village green, made a perfect island by the canal on one side and the river on the other.
To reach the play area, you follow the steps seen behind this sign and cross a stream – a nicely evocative ‘threshold’ moment, even when it’s not covered in ice.
The space itself is still mostly flat, with a few trees and no equipment whatsoever. With snow on the ground however, there’s always lots to play with. Big lumpy snow people and broken snowballs covered the ground, which was stamped flat in places with both big and little bootprints.
Even without the snow, though, there’s ducks to watch and feed:
Berries to collect and grind to juice, perfume or poisonous concoctions:
And places for your parent/carer/exasperated older sibling to sit in warmer weather:
It’s most importantly a place of remarkable beauty, that offers children the chance to engage with the landscape in a number of different ways. There’s a spot on the riverbank well-stirred up with little sticks, and a path that go back along its length, towards the bridge beyond.
Finally, for those feeling properly adventurous, there’s a ford of stone paths across the river and back into the village itself. It’s something that locals might easily take for granted, but which tends to inspire visitors with fears of getting washed away and into the freezing waters.
But my Dad said not to worry.
That hardly ever happens.