A PLAY area in the Wye Valley has been given a new lease of life - to get children of all ages in touch with nature.

The older wooden play equipment at the Whitestone visitor site near Tintern had to be removed in November 2021 as it had reached the end of its life.

South Wales Argus: Revamped play area near Tintern

Since then, massive changes have been under way to redesign a new exploration space with more natural features that create a space for children and adults alike to get immersed in play and engage with nature.

South Wales Argus: Revamped play area near Tintern

These would include:

  • A mound with a fort on top, which can be accessed via a spiral path making it accessible for all users
  • Stepping stones and logs leading to different locations within the play area – from tunnels to secret log circles and balancing logs which encompass the whole area
  • Installation of new picnic benches

As part of the redevelopment, a small number of trees that had become infected with Phytopthora ramorum (more commonly known as larch disease) had to be removed from the area.

South Wales Argus: Revamped play area near Tintern

The timber from the infected trees was milled on site and used to create the log bridges and to retain walls for the tunnel along with steps and stepping logs.

The remaining tree stumps have been incorporated into the natural design to create a ‘tic tac toe’ game so that children and adults can sit and play using sticks and stones.

The work on the site was carried out by officers from Natural Resources Wales (NRW)

Andrew Hobbs, land management officer for NRW, said: “Our green spaces are invaluable and provide communities with safe recreational places that help improve people’s physical and mental well-being.

“Exploring nature is a great way for children and adults to exercise their bodies and minds and the natural environment offers lots of opportunities to engage in a variety of fun, simple activities.

“We know this area is really popular with visitors and it’s been really rewarding to see it given a new lease of life and restored to a space for everyone to enjoy.”

The new exploration area is due to open to the public this summer.