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What is nature play?

Nature play has become a term used to describe the creation of simple play opportunities in the natural environment. These encourage children and parents to perceive the whole forest as a place without boundaries
to explore, and as a venue for adventures.

What is this guide for?

The intention of this illustrated guide is to provide ideas for local forest managers to implement their own nature play elements. The ideas have been
chosen so that materials can be locally sourced and implementation could be undertaken by local crafts personnel, in some cases with a little help from specialist designers or contractors. Most of the ideas in this guide are suitable for all-ability use. Information is given in the appendix on
useful contacts, contractors and suppliers.

Who in the FC can help with nature play projects?

Within FC England are a team of landscape architects who have experience creating and implementing nature play areas. They will be able to help you develop a plan and contact the relevant people to make it happen.

What about safety?

The ideas chosen for this guide have been selected because they have no moving parts and minimal fall heights, thereby reducing the need for safety surfacing and its associated maintenance. The guide has been assessed by an RPII inspector to check the ideas illustrated against play standards. Basic safety guidance is given in the appendix to aid local staff, but site managers are responsible for ensuring that all completed play elements are initially assessed and then regularly maintained and audited.

Last updated: 8th March 2016

England's Woods and Forests are cared for by Forest Enterprise England, an agency of the Forestry Commission.