We were in Leyland last weekend visiting Mr Parklover’s family. As we headed up the M61, the skies brightened and a glint appeared in my eye as I spied an opportunty to sneak in a visit to Withy Grove Park in Bamber Bridge. I got wind of this play paradise via the writer of All Grown Up and have been itching to let CJ loose on it ever since.
We visited late Sunday afternoon after a roast lunch and tea and biccies at CJ’s Great Grandparents – at about 4 pm on a nippy November afternoon, this park was still busy, so I imagine it’s packed on a sunny summer’s day. It’s easy to see why, this is undoubtedly one of the best and most extensive playgrounds we’ve visited. It’s styled as a desert island and has a large area for younger children and a seperate section with a basketball area, skate ramps and covered seating area for teens. In between is a wide range of equipment suitable for various ages. It was great to see all areas of the playground being used by a different agegroups and, according to South Ribble Council’s webpage (above), the main playground is floodlit until 9pm and the teen area until 10pm and the whole area is covered by CCTV.
The toddler area is set in sand and CJ immediately made a beeline for this. There’s a climbing frame and slide with buckets and pullies for moving the sand around – CJ decided that her hands would do the job though, so ran up and down the slide ramp with handfuls of sand to deposit in the bucket. She likes to freestyle. This area has loads of great features including a wheelchair accessible roundabout, different types of swings, including one which can be used with a harness obtained from the adjacent leisure centre, aquatic themed springies and shipwrecked pirate ship housing slides and hidey-holes.
We explored the whole playground – CJ excitedly running towards new and enticing equipment and me jogging a few paces behind shouting “careful…”. She had a go on some “big girl” swings and a wooden ramp, which I enjoyed demonstrating for her. There are lots of rope nets to climb up and along, a long zip wire which I’d LOVE to have a go on and loads of other stuff which is quite difficult to describe but looks fun or scary according to your tastes and you can hopefully see from the photos. I’m afraid that the photos reflect the time of day and year we were visiting so are a little bit gloomy, but this is such a gem of a playground that I hope it’s many wonderful qualities sparkle through the clouds and give a sense of how great a venue this is. I have nothing negative to report – the only thing worth mentioning is that drainage is clearly problematic on the land here, so it might be worth bringing wellies, as the landscaped areas between the zones of the playground are grassy and were a little boggy when we visited. If you have an enthusiastic parklover with you like CJ who runs straight at things she likes the look of, it may save you some soggy shoes.