Belton House is marking 40 years since its popular adventure playground first opened with the return of Blue Peter legend Peter Purves.
The BBC children’s television presenter officially opened Belton’s outdoor adventure playground on Easter Sunday 1978 as Lord Brownlow’s guest of honour.
He will join in celebrations at a family fun day on Thursday, including puppet shows, children’s outdoor theatre, bushcraft activities and face-painting to mark the anniversary and kick-start this year’s Easter holiday period at the property.
Visitor experience manager Siobhán Scullion said: “Our theme for the party is memories of play.”
The playground, originally called ‘Jungleland’ because of its woodland setting, was created by the Brownlow family who owned the estate until 1984.
In 2015, a renovation project to update the play equipment and create a memorable play experience for all young visitors, offering challenging play in the woodland setting, was completed.
It is now home to the National Trust’s largest outdoor adventure playground and has been a well-loved destination for generations.
The Journal asked readers to share their memories from the playground to fit in with Belton’s ‘memories of play’ theme and we have been inundated with photographs since. At the time of going to press, we had more than 100 contributions.
Stuart Mcnaught told us: “We have spent many happy afternoons on the play equipment there, on a summer afternoon. Lovely place!”
Shannon Thorpe added: “We have been attending Belton for two years now and love to go any chance we get.”
Bryan Pearce recalls his memories from a while ago. He said: “I remember years ago they used to have some great airshows with Belton House the focal point to watch them from.”
Belton’s play manager Leonora Harbord would like to mark the anniversary by updating their current archive.
She said: “The playground holds so many different memories for so many people throughout the ages. We would like to use the opportunity to update our current archive with even more photos and memories. We will also be creating bunting for the party which will feature drawings from visitors.”
The playground is open from 9.30am every day, closing only on Christmas Day.
The event is free, but normal admission charges apply. For more information, visit www.nationaltrust.org.uk/belton-house.