Work has been completed to install a new play area for young people, Kestrel Park, at Brisley Farm open space in Kingsnorth, adjacent to Coulter Road.
The open space next to the historic Coleman's Kitchen woods is a well-loved area of natural beauty in the borough, with a natural meadow and backdrop of ancient woodland of Iron Age importance popular among walkers.
The new play area serves the residents of Brisley Farm estate and Washford Farm, and feature new footpaths and a play area for young people, with a mega slide, play fort, zip wires and basket swing.
The open space will also help to connect the town centre with the surrounding countryside by linking with Ashford Community Woodland, the Singleton Environment Centre, and the proposed Chilmington Green Discovery Park.
The designs will protect and enhance the native wildlife and also recognise the site's historical significance.
The site sits adjacent to Iron Age woodland, and was the location of a 1944 bombing in which RAF servicemen from Squadron 5003 were killed. The design of the play equipment draws on the site's Iron Age significance, and a commemorative plaque for the RAF servicemen has also been installed. The site also incorporates a bespoke art feature of a carved ram using the section 106 public art contribution. The ram features on the crest of the Squadron and acts as their mascot. He's sitting here keeping watch over the memorial.
Initial landscaping works were completed last year. The installation of the play equipment was completed in late spring 2017.
Late last year (2016), landscaping, draining and items such as benches and a new footpath were installed, allowing visitors to enjoy the site and its views. The bespoke play equipment was installed in the Spring of 2017 and opened in time for the late May half term school holiday.
The area is sited on clay terrain which means the site becomes saturated very quickly. We are aware of the drainage issues in the area and have installed a new drainage channel to alleviate the problem.
There is a possibility the site will be damp in the winter after heavy rainfall, but better drainage should help prevent water reaching the highway.
Kestrel Park play area has been funded by developer section 106 money from Phase 1 and Phase 10 of the Brisley Farm development.
Ashford Borough Council is committed to providing high quality and accessible play spaces, and over the past year we have refurbished many play areas across the borough.
Bridgefield play area was constructed by the Brisley Farm developers and the council has gained ownership of the play area in due course where there will be scope to maintain the equipment.
There are plans for the creation of a new larger park in Bridgefield featuring a new play area, leisure area for recreation, conservation area for preserving habitat for local wildlife, a new footbridge for access and footpaths. Archaeological works took place first in May 2017 to catalogue and date any finds on this site of iron age importance. Development works to create the park is planned to start in June/July 2017.
We also have plans to improve the play areas at Bulleid Place and Newtown Green in Newtown and the play area on St Anne's Road in Beaver Ward. Check out our Play Area Refurbishments page for further details as projects are started.
There is ample car parking in close proximity to Kestrel Park play area. Visitors can park in The Singleton Environment Centre for example which is a short walk away from the play area. The new Chilmington Green development will also provide more parking in the future.
Although similar to nearby Cuckoo Park in terms of being timber-framed, the importance of the Iron Age archaeology of the Brisley site is what has influenced the design of this particular 'roundhouse' style timber-frame, and therefore renders it somewhat unique.
Many other areas have opted for large timber structured play areas including Cobtree Manor Park in Maidstone and Shorne Country Park in Gravesend. In addition, a South Gloucestershire play area re-used elements of an existing steel play structure and transformed it into an iron-age play fort. These features draw similarity to Kestrel Park.