Natural adventure area at Hatchlands Park

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In keeping with our aim of encouraging children to enjoy the outdoors, this year we decided that we needed a new area for our younger visitors.

We created Wizard Wix’s Willow Warren, a natural adventure area where kids can run around while interacting with their surroundings.

A woodland transformation

As recently as February this area of Great Wix Wood looked very different, much like the woodland that still surrounds it.

With the help of our volunteers, we cleared an area of woodland floor and made safe several dead trees, leaving them as short trunks.

Sue and Dan, who manage our estate, designed the layout and carefully chose the materials for the natural adventure area. Their aim was to create an imaginative and fun area, but one that was completely in keeping with the surroundings. They wanted to use natural materials that could be quickly reclaimed by the woodland in the future.

Adding the interactive

They created a network of willow tunnels and domes that loop around the area. The willow wands that we used are live and will continue to gain and lose their leaves with the seasons.

We added a bird feeding station and some dead wood piles for den building, encouraging the children that visit to interact with nature.

Steve Francis, an arborist sculptor, transformed the tree trunks we’d left standing into beautiful sculptures of wizards and mysterious creatures. He used wood from the felled trees to create smaller sculptures of woodland wildlife and birds.

What's next?

We’re really proud of the result, but there’s more to come. We’ve lots of ideas for additions in the coming months, and we'd love to hear what you think.

If you’d like to help us with a donation for this project please get in touch. Or visit our donations page to find out about other projects throughout the country.