COMMUNITY Woodland play PARK & Picnic area


Our aspiration is to create a small natural area in woodland close to our village centre: accessible for all ages, but especially for young children to explore and play in the small clearances amongst the mature trees. It will be designed to encourage an interest in nature and bio-diversity.

Swalcliffe is a small village with about 95 houses and 150 residents. A number of the younger families in particular live in cottages with smallish gardens and the village is short of public spaces where families can stroll to easily and meet and mix safely. The nearest is common land over a mile outside the village (and not accessible with push chairs) and young families have to drive at lease three miles to the nearest play area. There is also an increasingly busy main road, with narrow pavements, dissecting the village, which inhibits the normal the peaceful 'to and fro' that you would expect in a rural community.

There are about 30 children under the age of 10 living in the village and a growing number of grandchildren visit regularly – probably about 25 currently. The creation of this wooded play area will help encourage other young families to move into the village, and help ensure a more balanced age profile.

The land, which has kindly been donated on a long - term lease by a local boarding school (measures about 35 metres by 15 metres) and our vision is to create a wooded area for children (and adults) to explore, to both exercise their curiosity, and meet others. As well as incorporating a small number of wooden pieces of play equipment and a picnic table the area will encourage interest in nature and wildlife through the placing of bird and bat boxes and a sensory garden.

We are still in the planning stage at the moment so if you have any suggestions or concerns please get in touch via the Swalcliffe website.

The Steering Group is made up of Village residents

Peter Beddowes, Mick Foley, David McLindon, Sophie Thompson and Charlotte Watkins.

Feel free to talk to them or email on:



10 April 2015

Click image above to see some drawings from children - what they would want at the play area.

30 September 2017

We now need your help

The proposed play area will be rustic in design and will enhance the natural woodland using wooden equipment and bark pathways and will be hardly visible from the main road. We also have permission to create a discreet pathway in front of the stone school wall to more safely link the two halves of the village. Please see the plans below.

Our challenge now is to get the play area site cleared and constructed ideally before the bird-nesting season in April. We are already seeking grants from a number of sources to supplement the money already raised, and promised by The Parish Council. But we now need more volunteers from the village to both join our newly formed Management Group and/or to help with clearing the site in the early winter.

‘Go ahead’ for Swalcliffe’s
Community Woodland Play
and Picnic Area

- and also a plea for help!

Cherwell District Council recently approved the plans for a new woodland play area purpose designed to provide a safe place for young children to let off steam, explore, learn about nature and for families to picnic  - and all within five minutes walk of each end of the village!

A voluntary village group has been working over the last three years, with the support of Swalciffe Parish Council and Swalcliffe Park School, to develop plans for the creation of the a safe and exciting play area in a wooded piece of land at the front of the school and surplus to their requirements. The School has very kindly leased us the land. This means that the village children and parents, and grandchildren who come to visit, will be able to walk to the play area and mix with neighbours children, rather than being driven to another village playground.

Please contact any of the current working group if you want to get involved. CONTACT US

This year is crucial for the play and picnic area we are nearly there - Work has finally started and as you can see from the below image going really well...

Your Woodland Play Park needs you!

We are making excellent progress with the construction of the new Play park at Swalcliffe Park School. Our next task is to plant some native hedging around the perimeter fence to provide additional screening and protection - and to encourage wildlife. We have ordered 275 bare root mixed hedging plants and we need help to plant them in situ to get them established over the winter months.

We have organised a Hedge Planting Working Party on Saturday 8th December from 10.30 - 12.30. No horticultural skills needed - just bring along your own trowel and a kneeler if you need one and some gardening gloves (some of the plants may be thorny), and we will show you what to do. Children welcome who I'm sure will be able to pitch in too.

Please let me know if you are free and able to help. Thank you. INFO@SWALCLIFFE.ORG

14 November 2018