This very special place is a hidden gem in Tiverton. According to Play England, Adventure Playgrounds ‘are places where children can play in ways that they often can’t elsewhere and provide the play opportunities that adults used to take for granted when they were children.’ This is certainly true or Tiverton – we spent a very happy day here and on leaving I felt my children had been given an opportunity to play in a way that they rarely get to.Finding Tiverton Adventure Playground isn’t particularly easy if you’re not familiar with the area. From the M5/A361, take the Tiverton exit and then turn right into Lea Road at the McDonald’s junction. Take the first left into Beech Road and you will see signs opposite Two Moors Primary School. There is no designated parking and it is a residential area, so please park considerately.On entering, you are asked to sign in, and there is an opportunity to give a donation. (No money is asked for and the setting is free, however, they rely on donations to remain open and I felt it important to pay a fair amount for the fun we had.) There is a building here that offers toilets and water and acts as a hub for the site (written policies and risk assessments are available here if needed.)
Almost immediately, a giant slide invites you to enter the main site and – despite a path also being available – everyone in our group gleefully threw themselves down! There are so many parts of the 3.5 acre site to explore, it was hard to know what to do first. More seasoned parents/carers had selected picnic benches or brought their own chairs to set up a fixed meeting point, and let their children run free.
There are fixed wooden structures – wobbly bridges, a zip wire, dens, a rotating rocket, treehouses……plus 2 fabulous slides.There are also lots of building ‘parts’ ie tyres, planks, crates and ropes that the children can use to create their own obstacles and shelters. Tools are available for older children but they have to be signed for and used carefully and responsibly.
There is a meal prep area which proved particularly popular with our group – being allowed to use sharp kitchen utensils clearly held some kudos and they were thrilled to taste the fruits of their labours in a – surprisingly to me, I’m ashamed to admit – delicious campfire stew (vegan and gluten/dairy free to be inclusive) that was offered free to all children attending.
The campfire drew our children in and we quickly realised that others had brought their own marshmallows to roast (these are not provided but it’s fine to bring your own). A quick nip out to the very close-by shops solved the problem and we joined in with selecting the right sticks and turning the treats just the right amount!
The opportunity to play unsupervised and in an unstructured way is a rare treat and one my children grabbed with both hands. We lost a day to this magical place, and hope to return soon to lose many more!