A NEW children’s play area at Mapledurham Playing Fields is now open and ready for play.

The old play area has been replaced with a larger new dynamic playground, with improved accessibility, and opens this Saturday (October 26).

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The new equipment has been designed for toddlers and children up to the age of twelve and provides a range of facilities for children of all abilities.

Councillor Karen Rowland and children from the 5th Caversham Brownies tried out the play equipment this week ahead of the public opening.

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The brownies were very excited to be the first children to experience the new playground.

Brownie Gwendoline, age 7, said: “I really like the new playground – my favourite part is the climbing frame pole slide!”

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Cllr Karen Rowland, Reading’s Lead Member for Culture, Heritage and Recreation, said: “I’m really pleased to see the new play area at Mapledurham Playing Fields complete and ready for the kids to play on during the October Half Term.

"It is one of our key priorities that we provide high quality equipment in as many of our playgrounds as possible so that children of all abilities can play together.

"The test-run with the 5th Caversham Brownies entirely confirmed to me that we are delivering a truly fabulous play area.

"It was hard to get the girls (or myself) off the equipment!”

Just under £100K has been invested in new equipment, which includes: a ground level bouncing unit; an inclusive seat and scooter roundabout; an exciting multi-play climbing frame – which helps develop balance and co-ordination skills; three toddler friendly animal themed springie units and several swings – including an inclusive rubber nest swing.

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The gates around the playground have been improved and safety surfacing added across the whole area.

The new playground is part of the council’s larger improvement work to the playing fields to improve facilities for all local residents and park users.

It sits alongside the Department for Education’s work to create The Heights Primary School at this location.

Councillor Deborah Edwards, Chair of the Mapledurham Playing Fields Trustees Sub Committee, said: “The new play area is looking fabulous and I’m sure local children will really enjoy the new improved facilities.

"We know the old playground was very tired and as a result, little used.

"We anticipate the new playground will prove very popular and well used, given its location near the new school and the work to improve the park’s footpath network.”

Further work to improve the network of paths around the play area will be completed in the summer next year.