St Blaise School

Didcot, Oxfordshire

During spring 2010 White Horse Contractors constructed a resource area for pupils at St Blaise School. Works consisted of planting a small woodland area and hedgerow, construction of a lined wildlife pond with palisade fencing and Coxwell gravel path.

Excavated materials were used to form grassed viewing mounds with sleeper steps/ seating platforms. Woodchip walkways were installed throughout the site with board edgings for access to pond and around class planting beds for the children. A small storage shed was installed on a concrete base with adjacent standpipe with water service laid from the school.

In a second enclosed area, a second mound was created using excavated material, a small bridge was built from blockwork foundations, a wooden construction with hand rails and vertical pales. A circular path was installed around the perimeter and surfaced with Ecoscape softbond rubber for use of small children with bicycles etc. A small sensory garden was constructed with seating in one corner and a raised planting bed in the second corner with a shed which was converted by White Horse to form a small playhouse.

Within the track, the grassed mound has rocks and tyres laid at reverse angles to form scrambling areas. A performing area consisting of decking with trellis backdrop was constructed to allow viewing from mound. A balance beam and stepping logs were also installed and stepping stones laid to lead under the bridge to the sensory garden.

A water feature allowed in the original design proved to be beyond the budget available. White Horse Contractors, in conjunction with the architects and school representative, were able to construct a water feature with storage tank, hand pump, raised platform and wooden channels for 30% of the cost of the original design.

Access for the site was gained through the adjoining football club. Disturbance was kept to the minimum. The existing mesh fence was removed for suitable distance to gain access and fully reconstructed at completion.

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Fact file

Project: New build school play resource area including performing area, garden shed, playhouse, water play feature, pond, bridge, bark and rubber crumb footpaths and soft landscaping
Client: St Blaise School
Contract supervisors: White Horse Contractors Limited
Design: Anthony Stiff Associates
Contract Value: 55k

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