Make your mark on the Field of Play

The Field of Play is the much loved play space at Attingham. In 2017 we received funding to develop this area and commissioned Walter Jack studios to create a long-term blueprint for the future design of the field.

With over 500,000 people visiting Attingham each year, the Field of Play at Attingham is a well-loved play space. Initially opened in 2012 the field at the edge of the Walled Garden has always been a ‘work in progress’ with play equipment and play areas added to it over the recent years.


The plan: ‘Guilloche’

In 2017, Walter Jack Studios, working alongside the team at Attingham developed a new creative vision for the Field of Play. Visiting regularly, listening and talking to staff and visitors, Walter Jack Studios proposed ‘Guilloche’.

Attingham’s Field of Play, also known as the Shoulder of Mutton, has experienced thousands of years of ‘mark making’, creating patterns on its surface, whether from the ancient ridge and furrow, the ploughed lines of modern agriculture or the white lines of a rounders’ pitch.

Inspired by the infinite interconnecting circles of the guilloche pattern, found inside the Mansion at Attingham on stone work, gilding, plaster and textiles, a series of linked circles can be marked out across field, at times, in white line marking paint.

A sketch by Walter Jack Studios of the planned 'guilloche' patten in the Field of Play
A sketch of the white line markings planned for the Field of Play
A sketch by Walter Jack Studios of the planned 'guilloche' patten in the Field of Play

 

How you 'made a mark' on the plans

In July 2017 we headed up to the field to talk to visitors about the first stage of the plans, what we’d been doing in the field over the past few months and gave families an opportunity to ‘make their mark’.

Using feedback from visitors at our Making Your Mark activity weekend held in July 2017, an online survey open for responses in August 2017, and consultations with local schools and community groups we identified priority areas for development in the field.

This included improving accessibility, providing shelter in the field for windy, sunny, and rainy days, and creating more 'Guilloche' play with grass mounding throughout the field. 

The brightly decorated willow wall taking shape in the Field of Play.
A decorated willow wall being created in the Field of Play at Attingham
The brightly decorated willow wall taking shape in the Field of Play.

What’s changed since 2017?

Over the past few years you might have noticed a few changes to the field as we began including the new ideas for the space, as well as carrying improvements to existing facilities. This included building new willow tunnels- with the help of local schools and volunteers, a new hill fort at the opposite end of the field to the existing ‘Pipe Monster’, a new food and beverage kiosk, and regularly line marking ‘guilloche’ patterns on the grass for families to play within, or ‘without’ as they explored the space.

" We use the pattern to create shape, boundary, play and interest in the field. But it does not constrain us because the pattern is a layer that can be used or ignored, worn away and re-discovered."
- Walter Jack, Designer, Walter Jack Studios

Due to the impact of Covid-19, the project was paused in early 2020.

 

2021 Updates

Now, in 2021, we’re at the stage where we can restart the project and later in the year will begin the process of commissioning landscape architects and play designers to further develop ‘Guilloche’. The Field of Play will always be a natural play space and this will be key to any future plans for the field, along with increasing the accessibility of the area.

There are a number of pieces of equipment in the field that have come to the end of their life and will need to be removed shortly (spring 2021); the white hut, the roundabout, and the wooden wheelbarrow slide. The ‘Pipe Monster’ will reopen for play for the summer holidays and we are also carrying out improvements to the toilets in the field.  

Pausing the project for 18 months due to Covid-19, means that there will be delay before any further improvements are made to the field.

Like you, we love the Field of Play! We're excited to be developing the space, if you'd like to get in touch with us about the work please drop us a line at attingham@nationaltrust.org.uk