Hampshire County Council’s Queen Elizabeth Country Park is set within the picturesque South Downs near Petersfield, Hampshire. Greenspan have been working with Hampshire County Council to undertake some exciting improvements at Hampshire’s largest country park as part of the ‘Forts and Fleets’ project. Funded by Hampshire County Council’s Country Parks Transformation Programme and the Armed Forces Covenant Fund, ‘Forts and Fleets’ aims to bring military and civilian communities closer together through a shared love of nature and the great outdoors.
The project uses a broad range of themes, including play, physical fitness, and dogs to appeal to different people across both communities.
We love to create bespoke outdoor spaces so we were really excited to be involved in such a great project! We’ve been working on four main areas including a new play space, assault course, community space, and a dog agility trail:
New Play Space
– Set within the beech woodland the new play space takes its design inspiration from the philosophy of military manoeuvres, both the historical Saxon presence in the area, and the modern day naval influence. Children can discover the principles of deployment and return, vantage points and look-outs from forts, conning towers, and decks, along with a zip-wire, reminiscent of take-off from an aircraft carrier.
The minimalist architectural aesthetic, with solid, blocky structures hint at the formidable engineered nature of the military influence on, and inspiration behind, the project.
The bespoke, natural timber play structures are themed with some stunning hand-crafted, rustic wooden swords, hobby horses, spoons and bowls to offer an authentic play experience. The natural play environment encourages children to be more creative and active, whilst allowing them to explore an element of risk.
– The bespoke course includes a range of structures to provide visitors with the experience of a military assault course. The course comprises of twelve obstacles, offering a mix of challenge to both the beginner, intermediate and advanced users. The robinia timber structures cleverly blend into the surrounding woodland, allowing both the course users and other park visitors to enjoy the beautiful natural landscape. The course offers a brilliant opportunity for physical activity, challenge and family fun. Up for the challenge?
– A general gathering area to bring people and families together was the impetus behind the community space. Featuring an amazing, bespoke pizza oven; the community area is a fantastic open space in which to enjoy food and fun. The design influences stem from the Bronze and Iron Age in terms of both historic settlement patterns and materials. The simple, but nonetheless striking design is certainly eye-catching. The rustic, natural building materials provide a truly authentic, natural social dining experience.
Dog Agility Course
– To make sure that those furry family members are not left out, the ‘Forts & Fleets’ project features a brilliant dog agility course. Spread out over one of the many green parkland spaces, the dog agility course includes a number of bespoke obstacles to challenge dogs, from tunnels and weaving poles, to hurdles and ramps.
The park has long been popular with dog walkers so the introduction of the course is a fantastic way to enrich dog walks and promote physical activity. The course is being used by a number of dog walking and training groups.
We used our design and build expertise to fully engage with this large-scale project and create what is proving to be an excellent addition to the country park. The four areas have been opened to park visitors stage by stage over recent weeks and already the park has seen an increase in park visitors.
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