Gressenhalls amazing adventure playground in the heart of Norfolk countryside

Client: Norfolk County Council – Gressenhall Farm and Workhouse Museum of Norfolk Life – Recreated workhouse, museum of life on the land and rare breeds farm.

Location: The heart of Norfolk countryside

‘The Playdale team worked closely with us to develop a vibrant theme for our new adventure playground at Gressenhall Farm and Workhouse, which is a unique site. The designs presented by Playdale fitted in with our woodland and heritage environment really well. The installation of the new playground equipment came with complications including a challenging split level location, active protected wildlife and the Covid-19 lockdown but the Playdale team were flexible and were able to deliver a fantastic looking adventure playground area for us despite some challenges along the way. Our visitors are now enjoying the play equipment and the new bespoke tower units certainly complement the woodland surroundings and have the wow factor we were hoping to achieve.’ Andrew Smith, Operations Manager, Norfolk Museums Service

The brief

Gressenhall Farm and Workhouse Museum of Norfolk Life brings together a museum, traditional working farm and historic workhouse over 50 acres of breathtaking countryside. The museum was awarded funds via Norfolk County Council to redevelop their existing play area. An important aspect of the playground design was to incorporate a theme that complemented elements of the wider site including the local wildlife and woodland, heavy horses and heritage farm animals.

The challenge

The play area installation brought complexity in the form of varying ground levels, restrictions due to tree roots and wildlife protection. The large wooden junior climbing structure (which we replaced) was on a multi-level, tree-covered slope. Therefore, the bespoke multi play unit replacement needed to be specifically designed for this ‘out of the ordinary’ surface and topography.

The former wooden climbing structure which was set on various levels of the playground.

A biodiversity impact assessment established the presence of a significant badger sett in the woodlands, meadows and fields surrounding the playground. Therefore, the playground needed to be designed in line with the Protection of Badgers Act 1996. It was also paramount that our installation teams avoided disturbing, damaging, or blocking access to the sett.

The design & installation 

With the brief and challenges in mind, our talented Design Team produced a detailed quotation, scaled plan, 2D and 3D imagery of the new play area. This allowed the play area proposal to really come to life for the Gressenhall team.

During the installation, the UK went into lockdown, unexpectedly delaying the project. Playdale were able to put in place Covid safe work practices allowing the installers to carry on the installation safely, ready for the museums reopening.

The installation started with the dismantlement of the existing play area including the multi-level play structure. Its replacement was an all-green multi-play unit complete with eight towers including a four-floor hexagonal tower and five slides!

The old multi-level play structure and during the installation of the customised Mountain Tower Plus.

The new Mountain Tower truly blends in with the green hues and natural surrounds of the woodland.

A section of fencing around the existing toddler play area was removed to create a more open play space. The four-tower Glenduckie Plus unit from our Little Hamlets Plus range replaced the existing wooden play structure, providing heaps of play value including high and low-level play experiences for younger children.

The finished adventure playground


The themed elements, which were important aspects of the new play area, include a Play Tractor and Trailer, bespoke educational play panels and a badger sett complete with mound tunnels! These pieces of equipment reflect Gressenhall’s links to the local wildlife and woodland as well as heritage farm animals which were a large part of the original brief.


Gressenhall’s new playground is home to a range of play equipment that provide a wow factor for children of all ages and abilities. The pieces of play equipment and themed elements selected for the playground give so much variety for children and each product has its own play values and benefits.

The new products to be enjoyed at Gressenhall include: A customised Mountain Tower Plus, an Aerial Runway, items from our timber Adventure Trail range, an Activity Net, a Timber Two Bay inclusive Team Swing, a Chimpanzee from our Little Monkey Climbers range, a Glenduckie Plus from our Little Hamlets Plus range, Play Tractor and Trailer, Bespoke Themed Play Panels, Canyon Bridge, Bubble Tunnels and Tube Slide.



If you are feeling inspired and would like to discuss any aspect of your play project with your local Playdale Area Manager, click here. You can also request a copy of our catalogue.

We look forward to hearing from you!


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