Wild play park hopes to beat the weather with second try at official launch

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A balancing snake already installed at the wild play area in Sway

FAMILIES are being invited to the opening of a wild play area in Sway this weekend where they will get to try out a balancing snake, a giant wooden tunnel and mini-beast hotel.

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The park is at Stanford Rise and was created after the huge success of a similar site launched by the national park authority at Holbury Manor in April last year.

It is being opened at 2pm tomorrow (Saturday), following which visitors will be able to take part in a ribbon run, storytelling and forest crafts.

A previous official opening in March was cancelled after bad weather was forecast.

There will also be wood carving demonstrations by Richard Austin, activities with national park rangers and live music from Rick Street Organs.

The wild-play areas are aimed at getting kids to unhook from technology for a while and go back to playing out in the fresh air

A third site is planned for Ashurst and Colbury recreation ground at Whartons Lane in Ashurst.

Claire Pearce, wild-play project officer from the NPA, said: “It has been fantastic to work with Sway Parish Council on Stanford Rise Green and create an amazing space for families to connect with their local surroundings.

“It’s important we encourage children to spend more time outdoors, not only to inspire them to care for nature, but to help improve their physical and mental wellbeing. I hope families will enjoy this space for many years to come.”

Sway parish clerk Katie Walding said: “The parish council is delighted that the project at Stanford Rise Green is now officially completed, in response to the votes of our residents in a village consultation.

“We hope that families young and old will enjoy the green space with its flowers, fruit trees and wild-play areas.”

Her words were echoed by Cllr Melanie Seacombe who said: “Sway Parish Council would like to thank members of the Friends of Stanford Rise Green whose help was invaluable in planting the bulbs and orchard trees, as well as providing the muscle to obtain logs for the seating and laying the safety surface around the wild-play areas.”

The sites have been funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund Our Past project in conjunction with Our Future Landscapes.

More information on the wild-play project and Our Past, Our Future scheme can be found at www.newforestnpa.gov.uk/landscapepartnership.

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