The National Trust will carry out a £1.4 million renovation of its outdoor adventure playground at Belton House.
The playground is set to receive a complete makeover for a phased opening in spring 2015 and is now closed for the winter.
Ali Keightley, Belton’s Project Manager, said: “Hundreds of thousands of children have played here over the past 40 years, but the playground is showing signs of wear and tear from all those feet. We know parents who came here as children now bring their own families to play and we want that tradition to continue for generations to come.
“We’re planning lots of exciting new play features and a train station for the miniature railway, as well as catering and toilet facilities.”
The original playground dates back to Belton’s previous owners, the Brownlow family, who opened it in 1976. Over the years much of the original equipment has had to be replaced, the ground has become heavily compacted and the specimen trees have suffered from having play equipment attached to them.
Ali added: “We know that its woodland setting is one of the most loved features of the playground, so we’ve made it a priority to enhance that within the new design. We’re also working hard to ensure that the new playground respects the landscape and historic character of this place.”
The National Trust is working with specialist tree house designers, Blue Forest, to create play features which will sit alongside firm favourites such as zip wires, swings and tube slides.
Much of the work will take place while the playground is closed over winter, and will then open over two phases.
Phase one, which covers the area of the existing playground, will open in March 2015 and phase two, which includes the new entrance, further play equipment, train station, toilets and kiosk, will open in May 2015.
The playground will include two bespoke play structures, one of which includes a tower with internal maze, new and restored play equipment, toilets including a disabled toilet and baby change facilities, catering kiosk, new train station and a new entrance via a bridge and boardwalk. The play area will be moved slightly southwards, to open up the views of the Gothick Ruin.
The new playground will be open 364 days of the year, closing only on Christmas Day. Entrance will still be free for National Trust members but an admission ticket will be needed for non-members.