Carrfield Primary Academy, Barnsley

Carrfield Primary Academy – Barnsley

The involvement of staff and the children was critical for the success of the playground at Carrfield Primary in Barnsley. This engagement was encouraged by Playgarden who met with the teaching staff and observed the children in their play. The school also engaged the children to find out what they would like to see in their playground.

Project Brief

A tired, tarmac playground with unusable play elements. An outdoor play area that did little to promote active, self-directed play and learning.


• Offers developmentally appropriate risk and challenge
• Limited budget, with major groundworks required
• Introduction of more natural elements & features into a barren landscape
• Opportunities to add height and different texturesThe school were fortunate to have a relatively large space for their outdoor provision, so were able to include several different zones. These


During the building of the playground at Carrfield Primary, Barnsley the children were encouraged to find out more about how building sites work. Donning their hard hats, hi-vis jackets and clipboards they did their regular inspection of the site, keeping up to date with progress and developments as their new playground took shape.

A large sand and water play area provides many opportunities for experimentation, play and learning. Two large sand pits; one dry sand and the other wet sand play, provide many opportunities to explore the properties that these differing textures provide. An integrated shade sail with sand transport pulley system offers multiple opportunities for transporting the sand around the sand pit.

A wonderful textured, pebble play feature captures the water as it cascades down from the Playground Pump. The textures features with an abundance of loose stones and cobbles provides numerous opportunities for damming and manipulating the water.

Fed up with traditional climbing frames, Carrfield Primary, Barnsley wanted something much more natural that was integrated into the playground. The Climbing Mound includes a natural boulder climbing feature, alongside steps and a Climbing Rope that the children can use to pull themselves up with. To get down from the mound children can easily roll down it or use the slide and land into the sand pit. This huge natural looking feature has created many opportunities for physical development and movement-rich experiences.

A variety of entrances have been created into the mud mixing area. A stile, offers an up and over entrance whilst gaps in the hedging provide an alternative opening. The fast growing hedge surround provides a sense of enclosure whilst at the same time offers a natural planting area that changes with the seasons.


  • A playground that encourages independent learning through play
  • Physical development and movement opportunities using natural features
  • Creative and imaginative spaces with loose, natural materials for open-ended play
  • Transformation of a barren, flat landscape into a wild playspace with varying heights and an array of textured surfaces


Equipment: Playground pump, shade sail, small children slide

Landscaping: Sand pit, pebble playscape, climbing mound, planting and trees, mud digging area

What the client said…