Trevithick Learning Academy, Cornwall

Trevithick Learning Academy – Cambourne

Trevithick Learning Academy in Cambourne, Cornwall is graded ‘Outstanding’ by OFSTED and called for an outdoor area which reflected the exemplary levels of teaching and provision throughout the rest of the school.

Project Brief

Trevithick Learning Academy knew what they wanted to achieve, they understood the value of outdoor play and wanted to create a space that could be used to support learning objectives, as well as providing a creative and low-maintenance space perfect for free play. Although they understood what they wanted to achieve, they felt they needed support in getting there and called upon play design and build specialists Playgarden. As the area targeted was developed specifically for 3 – 5 year olds, Playgarden were best placed to provide the advice they needed. A specialist Landscape Architect visited the school to discuss their requirements and subsequently created workable play designs which would be used to develop the new play space.


The school wanted to create distinct zones specifically for different activities. Previously the space had been used predominantly for running around, but by creating pockets of play which lent themselves to different activities this opened up the potential for having several alternative experiences within the space.

The school were sure that they wanted to include both sand and water, and the final design includes dry sand and wet sand areas, divided by a sleeper bridge. The wet sand area includes a playground pump and channels, and the dry sand area, a Building Site piece of play equipment, enabling children to experience sand in different mediums (wet and dry) for moulding, lifting and transporting. In addition to sand play, the school also went for a story telling area, bike track, sensory planting and concrete tube den, in amongst many other play features.

The Landscape Architect service from Playgarden combined with their specialist knowledge of play resulted in Playgarden winning the contract to see the designs through to installation.


• The bikes and high energy activities are now contained within a strip and do not dominate the space.

• The new planting has led to the play area being far more secluded, creating a different atmosphere for the space. As this planting becomes more established the climbers will billow out high up on the fence, creating a cloud like effect.

• The contrast of the wet sand and dry sand area helps children understand the different properties of the material.

• The story telling area is used by teachers with small groups. The children also use it for imaginative role play.

Equipment: House group, playground pump, water channel, small building site, pebble stream, sand area, willow hedge/fence, concrete pipe tunnel, shade sail, story-telling area with mushroom seats, mud play area.

Landscaping: Planting, artificial grass, archway and gate, bike track, tree planting, sleeper bridge.

What the client said…