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Cambourne Play Spaces


Development of play strategy for this 3300 home new settlement as well as detailed designs for informal and formal play spaces including LLAPs, LAPs, themed LEAPs, themed NEAPs, sports areas and a MUGA

A Strategy for Play
In order to encourage maximum use of the open spaces in Cambourne, Randall Thorp developed a detailed Play Strategy taking into account the play needs of toddlers, teenagers, adults and the elderly. The design guide suggested themes and number/ types of play equipment for each play area.

The strategy also introduced the concept of Spaces for Imaginative Play (SIPs), which are located in a few of the numerous greenways that link the site. These are themed but unequipped pocket play areas and are similar in concept to natural play or 'local landscaped areas for play'.

A combination of formal and informal play areas and sports areas has been planned to meet the standards set out by the National Playing Fields Association (now FIT) in terms of catchment and provision.

In addition to these main play areas, each developer plans their site to ensure no house is more than 100m from an area of open space suitable for toddlers to play on.

The Play Areas
Three main play areas have been created in Cambourne so far, with another two being designed. These are

  • Roman play area, Lower Cambourne Green
  • Farmyard play area, Great Cambourne Green
  • Eco Park play area, Great Cambourne
  • Natural play area with Bronze Age theme, Upper Cambourne
  • Natural play area by the main playing fields

An additional 7 SIPs and a skate park have also been built or designed.

Before designing these areas Randall Thorp held workshop sessions at the new Cambourne school and local Youth Bus to get ideas from the resident kids and teenagers and ensure they felt as if these really were their spaces.

Great Cambourne Green
This play area for toddlers to 14 year olds was designed with an agricultural theme due to its siting on a former farm yard. Consultation with the local children also generated their own designs for signage.

Lower Cambourne Roman Play Area
From design to construction, working closely with residents and children at the new school to create this Roman themed play area, inspired by the discovery of various roman artifacts found during archaeological excavations.

Eco Park Play area
Located within the Eco-park and next to an established Oak wood this toddler to 12 year old play area was designed with wildlife in mind.

Fen Greenway SIP
Sited in the Fen Greenway, a naturalistic wetland landscape inspired by the Cambridgshire Fens. The SIP expands the wetland theme using washed up logs, fish motifs, a timber bridge and an abandoned boat for children to play with.