Three years ago we were commissioned to create an adventure play attraction for Brodick Castle on The Isle of Arran, one of The National Trust for Scotland’s iconic properties.
It was always going to be a challenging design and build in many ways. The land itself was often wet, certainly rugged and there was a deep burn running through what was to become the heart of the adventure play site. And then add in the logistics of it being on The Isle of Arran, only accessible on a Caledonian MacBrayne ferry.
To add one extra layer of difficulty, it needed to be very carefully planned and designed to ensure sensitivity to the historic site, its flora, fauna and wildlife. This was going to be vital to get it approved by both the NTS and the planners of North Ayrshire. The only design brief was that it should have a gentle ‘theme’ echoing and hinting at the famous Scottish animals and icons of the NTS – red squirrels (Arran is famously colonised by red squirrels), otters, red deer and the majestic golden eagle
Inspired by all of this, but most of all the place itself, and always wanting to keep sites in their most natural of states, we designed 5 separate areas of play within the attraction, each depicting and alluding to its own Scottish animal – ‘Squirrel Play’ with its iconic tower and maze of spiral net climbs, twisting staircases and slides down, mimicking the way squirrels chase up and down trees. ‘Otter Play’ where children and parents alike are encouraged to scramble and climb on structures close to the banks of the burn, and a bottomless glass crawl tunnel giving a challenging crossing of the dramatic river.
Three years on and phase one of Isle Be Wild at Brodick Castle is now complete and open, bang on time, welcoming locals and ever increasing numbers of visitors to the Isle of Arran.
After the commercial success of the adventure play at NTS Culzean, it became a far simpler decision for the NTS to give us the go ahead. The build itself took only fourteen weeks with a CAPCO team of up to eight on site at any one time, including local recruits. It’s now looking great and giving thousands of children and parents some amazing adventurous outdoor fun, running and playing together in a stunning Scottish location.
Here’s a great video of the new Isle Be Wild from the air.