A NEW children’s play area has opened at Greys Court.
It was designed by retired carpenter Steve Spearing, a volunteer handyman at the National Trust property, and built over the summer at a cost of about £2,000.
Its main attraction is a treehouse called Greys Fort, which is built around a conifer tree on a wooded corner of the estate near the maze.
The house is made of decking planks and surrounded by a wood chip surface for safety. It is accessed by two flights of steps and has a slide.
There is a sandpit with spades and castle-shaped buckets, a basket filled with toy swords and shields and a wooden gatehouse with a drawbridge.
There are also giant versions of indoor games including draughts, dominos, playing cards and Jenga.
Head gardener Rachel Edwards came up with the idea when she saw children climbing trees in the area last year. She left a book and some crayons for them to draw their ideas for a play area. Most of them suggested a tree house.
She said: “I thought it was a nice area for them because it’s shaded from the sun and secluded from the rest of the garden.
“That means they can make as much noise as they like without interrupting anything else that’s going on, which is quite handy. Steve finished the design in April and we aimed to have it built by the summer, so we’re really glad to have managed that.
“People are really loving it. The children enjoy the shade and parents are really glad not to have to worry about them getting sunburn.
“We have to inspect it every day for safety reasons so it’s a lot of extra work but it’s worth it.”
There are plans to extend the play area next year by attaching a fortified bridge to the gatehouse and installing a rope swing.