© Underdog Heavy Industries 1969-2011
Ramridge Primary School
Ramridge Primary is a large school with an attached nursery and Children’s
Centre. It has many outdoor spaces divided up so that children in different
Key Stages have their own playgrounds. We
have developed two different areas at this
school in three distinct phases.
Our initial brief was to develop the nursery
playground which was a mixture of tarmac
and turf with very few features, little
planting and no shade. We consulted
thoroughly with the nursery staff who had
already put a lot of effort into establishing
what was needed for their playground.
The primary consideration was to build a
large covered area which could be used in
all weathers. Other features required were
a separate structure for story telling or
quiet activities, a covered sandpit, a turfed
and planted area to soften the space, and a circular multi-textured route leading throughout the site.
We responded by building a steeple-like tower and a sandpit with coloured windows in the roof. We linked
these two structures together with a complex canopy (you can see these structures from above in the
bottom left image). At the other side of the space we created a turfed mound with a story-telling shelter
inspired by a yurt. Around the mound we built a route with many sensory elements including a mosaic
pathway, music and sound makers and a sensory tunnel which now has climbing plants covering.
We then developed another space adjacent to the school library where we built a wild garden full of plants
designed to attract birds and insects. This included a pond with native planting, dipping deck, observation platform and a large mural to
cover an unattractive wall. We
also added an outdoor
classroom with sufficient
seating for a whole class
surrounded by wild meadow
planting, a willow dome,
orchard, greenhouse, potting
shed and raised growing beds
to allow the children to grow
their own vegetables.