Cotswold Wildlife Park in Oxfordshire is set in approximately 160 acres of grounds and gardens. It opened to the public in 1969, with the current Manor House designed by William Atkinson and built by Richard Pace of Lechlade in 1804. The Wildlife Park has over 260 different species of animals and is the largest privately owned zoological collection in the UK.
Our brief was therefore to design a whole new adventure play centre that built upon this natural and ecological theme and create somewhere that was fun, exciting and built to last.
The existing play was very traditional and didn’t offer the sense of fun and quality of experience to match visitors’ experiences elsewhere at Cotswold Wildlife Park. They contacted CAP.Co with a brief to inject some more playfulness and adventure into their site, and bring their play offering up to date.
So to begin the redevelopment of the play area, we started with some rough drawings that were then developed in greater detail.
The play area was to be a self-contained multi-level play space soaring up into the coniferous woodland in which it sits. A network of walkways, bridges, tunnels, crawl nets, towers and slides wind above, below and around each other in all directions taking visitors on numerous routes through the trees.
During the design process, it became clear that the play structure was developing into an exciting maze of different routes. From this, the ‘Sky Maze’ was born! To this day, the play area is known as the Sky Maze and Cotswold Wildlife Park have seen visitors increase year on year, in part due to the increased family offerings in the form of the play area.
Rustic natural poles are used (almost exclusively) throughout the build and working around and through the trees gives a sense of the structure simply being part of the woodland itself.
Below are a few images of the completed project at Cotswold Wildlife Park, showing the finishing details and quality nestled into its woodland landscape.
For more information about visiting Cotswold Wildlife Park, see their website.