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Take a Walk on the Wild Side

A new and exciting woodland play trail will help young explorers to climb, crawl, slide and swing their way across Upton Country Park this half term.

Eight new timber structures have been created to form a new play trail that starts in the car park, crosses the lawn close to the Education Centre and into Grove Wood.

Woodland areas have been cleared of the invasive Laurel and Rhododendron to help native species thrive and improve the habitat while providing space for the new timber structures, built using natural and locally sourced materials.

The trail which features a tall tower, log climbing pile and a rope swing also includes a 100 year old Turkey Oak tree that fell in 2012 and is now enjoying a new lease of life as a hollow log play tunnel.

To celebrate the opening of the new Play Trail, two special events will be held this half-term.

A hands-on carving workshop to create the final bespoke pieces that make up the entrance to the trail will take place in the car park on Saturday 16 February from 9am until 5pm. The workshops run by Touch Wood Enterprises of Bristol, the company supplying the play features, are now fully booked although spectators are welcome.

Then on Thursday 21 February, the Mayor of Poole, Cllr Carol Evans, will officially open the play trail from 1.30pm where there will be free refreshments for children, face painting and slacklining. Anyone wishing to join this free event should meet outside the Education Centre.

Cllr Carol Evans, Mayor of Poole, said: "I am really looking forward to being a part of what promises to be a fantastic afternoon for residents and new visitors. I can’t wait to see the many, many children enjoying this new feature of an already much-loved park.”

The project, which has been funded by planning obligations, Transportations' Rights of Way team and a generous donation from the Friends of Upton Country Park, also included work to landscape the trail, construct new footpaths and open previously inaccessible areas of woodland and meadow.

Cllr Judy Butt, Cabinet Portfolio Holder for Public Engagement and Participation, Borough of Poole, said: "I am delighted with this new element to Upton Country Park, which thanks to investment and support from the Friends group and the council, has benefitted hugely from improvements over the last year. The existing range of education activities and events that take place here are being improved with a wider range of opportunities for exploring the natural areas and playing in this wonderful park."

For more information about Upton Country Park and the play trail project, visit www.uptoncountrypark.com