Go wild with the natural play at Minnowburn
When you go into the woods today you’re in for a big surprise… At Minnowburn in Belfast our rangers have been working with local business volunteer groups to develop a new natural play trail for children big and small.
The trail winds through the forest, parallel to the popular Giant’s Ring walking route that follows the River Lagan.
The inspiration for the trail came from lead ranger Craig Somerville who would regularly walk the path with his family and noted how his children were always running off into the woods.
‘I had a lightbuld moment when it dawned on me that children needed a trail of their own - somewhere they could independently explore but that was within eye range of their parents.’
A new adventure with every step
The result is a wonderful adventure trail that blends into the woodland and provides children with the opportunity to step into a world of adventure and imaginative play.
Totally in keeping with its riverside setting, the rustic trail is made largely from recycled tree trunks and willow, expertly carved and crafted into balancing beams, stepping stones, a seesaw, log ladder and more. Some of the larger pieces of natural play include a giant Xylophone, willow den and a teddy bear picnic seating area.
‘The play trail has been evolving over the last two years and it’s been fantastic to have the support of volunteers from businesses including BT, Lloyds and Herbert Smith. The development of the play area is the result of a number of community partnerships so it’s fantastic now to see families out enjoying it.’
Children of all ages can have fun exploring secret passageways, hidden huts and magical musical instruments while their parents enjoy the Riverwalk, safe in the knowledge that their children are playing safely nearby.
‘Rather than being a traditional playground, the natural play at Minnowburn is an active trail that acts as a playground for the imagination,’ adds Craig. ‘We look forward to adding new features as the year progresses and to welcoming new visitors to Minnowburn.’