Let the fun begin: Walpole playground opens

Cllr Mahfouz with his son Alexander enjoying the opening day of the Walpole Park play area
Cllr Mahfouz with his son Alexander enjoying the opening day of the Walpole Park play area

The new playground in Walpole Park, Ealing opened on Friday, 15 August.

The brand new playground replaces the old Walpole play space and is separated into two distinct areas: one for toddlers and pre-schoolers and an area for more challenging play for older children.

The toddler play area is fully enclosed by sheep hurdle fencing, reminiscent of the former cow yard that originally occupied the site.

A large sand pit provides a safe environment for children to explore the playhouse with a climbing net and wide slide, mini roundabout and wobbly sheep. There is also a ‘Jack Straws’ see-saw for little ones who feel more adventurous and a Wendy house and storytelling chair for quiet play or role-play games.

Older children can try their hand at the large climbing ‘forest’, which features daring rope walks and bridges and an extra high slide. As well as traditional swings, there is a hexagonal tyre swing frame and a nest swing for group play.

Councillor Bassam Mahfouz, cabinet member for transport and environment, brought his four year old son, Alexander to the new playground. He said:

“This is a really fantastic play space that I know parents and children alike have been itching to get into with so many interesting and exciting elements.  The younger children love the fun they can have in the sand, whilst older kids enjoy the challenge of a brilliant activity course.  It looks amazing and I know I’ve certainly got one very happy customer who can’t wait to go back and take his friends.”

The new children’s playground is part of a wider scheme of improvements to Walpole Park that has been going on since September 2013 and is funded by a Heritage Lottery Fund ‘Parks for People’ grant of £2.4million.

Other improvements include: restoring the heritage bridge, stonework and water features; restoring the pond; re-landscaping the bridge and surrounding area; and re-surfacing and widening footpaths.  A new education centre; The Rickyard, will also house a refreshment kiosk and visitor toilets.  It is due to open in the autumn.

A further £2.7million was also contributed by Ealing Council and other small external grants towards the entire Walpole Park restoration project; including delivering a programme of events and activities.

Equipment from the previous play space at Walpole Park that has not been reinstated into the new playground will be relocated in other parks in Ealing. Other materials will be recycled with the Selbourne Society using some of the wooden fence rails to improve disabled access at its Perivale Wood site.