Tuesday, 5 March 2013

They played, they conquered – Longshaw’s natural play is a hit with families

Staff, volunteers and family groups at National Trust’s Longshaw Estate in the Peak District celebrated the launch of their new natural play map last week, which was greeted with big smiles, laughter and lots of thumbs up! 

Playing in the outdoors is something that has real benefits for children and the National Trust Peak District team have recently taken on the challenge of making Longshaw (just 7.5 miles from Sheffield) even more playful for young children and their families.  With plenty of fallen trees, balancing logs and woodland to explore already, the team have delved deeper into Longshaw’s hidden places, creating balancing adventures in the woods and tunnels in the rhododendrons, and doors into imaginary places. 
At the launch event on Sunday 17th February the Play Longshaw! map and new play features were unveiled on an fun activity walk, where each space had a grand opening with bunting, stories and songs.  Storyteller Gordon MacLellan (AKA the Creeping Toad), captivated children with his tales about the mischievous Boggarts of Longshaw and the Peak District, who reportedly might put stones in your shoes or eat your sandwiches when you sit down in the heather for a picnic on the moors.  Imaginations went wild as children found Boggart baths in puddles and made Boggart footprints in mud. 
The opening event was followed by a week of brilliant Boggart-making and mud-painting at the Moorland Discovery Centre, getting children and families fully into the spirit of natural play throughout half term. 

The Play Longshaw! map was designed by National Trust Volunteer, Lu Watkins. She said: “The Play Longshaw! launch week was really exciting – it was great seeing it all come alive.  From the feedback we’ve had so far we know it’s already a huge success, and we’re about to develop ideas for the second phase of the project so look out for more signs of Boggarts at Longshaw.”

The Play Longshaw! map is available from the Longshaw Visitor Centre during opening times, and the signs can be spotted along the route. 

To find out about other events, trails and facilities at Longshaw throughout the year visit:http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/longshaw/ 

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