Stockton’s RSPB wildlife reserve has opened a brand new playground as part of its already popular family-friendly wetlands.

The playground, created by Teesside Environment Trust in conjunction with Norfolk-based business Flights of Fantasy is designed to spark children’s “interest in nature” through play.

Features of the new attraction include an accessible sensory play area and swing, suitable for all children including those with disabilities.

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Henry Bowlby, Managing Director of co-creator Flights of Fantasy, has called the project “totally unique”.

“We’ve never done a job quite like this before… For example, when children climb up the bird’s nest platform, carved out of rhododendron wood, they can imagine they are within a bird’s nest. 

“And just touching raw untreated timer is a sensory experience in itself.”

The Northern Echo: The hand crafted birds offer a sensory experience for visitors.The hand crafted birds offer a sensory experience for visitors. (Image: RSPB)

Locally sourced wood and timber including sweet chestnut, oak and willow were acquired to create the area, in efforts to give kids a “sensory experience”.

Work was also put in to an accessible path and finger maze, specifically created to be inclusive to children who are visually impaired.

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It’s hoped these new additions will encourage more families with children to visit the reserve, boosting the current 50,000 visitors per annum it currently recieves.

Claire Freeburn, Visitor Experience Manager at RSPB Saltholme, said she is “delighted” to open the playground, specifically in time for the Easter holidays.

“We wanted to create a new totally original and accessible play area also offering a totally immersive experience, so children are playing within the natural environment they find here at RSPB Saltholme. 

“We’re thrilled with the results and the children are too!”

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David Kitchen, Chair of the Teesside Environmental Trust said, “This is just one of many projects that Teesside Environmental Trust has funded at RSPB Saltholme.

“Play is an important part of the learning journey of our young people and the playground aims to help them understand and protect nature.

“We hope many generations of children will continue to enjoy this playground for many years to come.”