Whatcombe Farm Nursery, Somerset

Whatcombe Farm Nursery in Somerset needed to make an outside area more accessible for everyone and an enjoyable place to play. Lucy Whitehead from Whatcombe Farm Nursery tells us more about their project.

Why did you want to develop your playground?
We were a new nursery and needed to make our split-level playground more accessible, as previously had steep steps down to a grass area. We were also finding the lawn wasn’t surviving the winter.

What were the key elements that made Playforce stand out from other providers?
Our local Outdoor Grounds Consultant Ben listened to our requirements, was honest about what would be possible for our budget and brought a good level of expertise to the project. 

Playforce were excellent to work with. They came at a time that best suited us, and arrived with DBS checks and ID.

How are you using the space to deliver outdoor learning and educational play?
The artificial grass allows us to create opportunities for children to develop in all areas of learning. We set up climbing frames, added a digging garden and raised mud kitchen area using sleepers, as well as adding a role play shed and reading shed. The slope has meant that even our youngest children can access all areas independently.

What are the biggest benefits you have seen for the children?
Being on a farm, it is important to us that we make full use of our outside spaces. Our garden is very versatile now, and can be used all-year-round. Prior to having the work done we had concerns about the artificial grass taking away from our very natural setting, however it flows well into the surrounding natural lawn.


Can you share any best practice insights you have gained?
We initially thought we’d landscape the garden, designing different elements to correspond to the EYFS educational programmes. We’ve actually found that having a large, open lawn has enabled us to be flexible with our activities and equipment setup, and allowed us to easily adapt to the needs and interests of the children we’re working with at any given time. 

Any other comments about your experience of working with Playforce?
Playforce were excellent to work with. They came at a time that best suited us, and arrived with DBS checks and ID. They were never in contact with the children – they made this easy- and they got the job done efficiently. The two men that worked on our garden were reliable, polite and tidy. All communications before, during and after the project have been great.