Today for our second “Love Parks” story we are in Newhaven, home to our newest children’s playground. We asked a couple of likely young pirates (and their mum) what they thought of the new equipment in the park.

Lesley Boniface from Friends of Riverside Park, kindly told us more about how the park came about.

On a very sunny day in June Milo (4) and Anna (9) visited the new park in Robinson Road, Newhaven.

Anna: This park gets a thumbs up from me. I loved the Pirate Ship because I could hang off the pole like a monkey and drop to the sand. Mums and Dads, you should take buckets and spades and stuff with you so your kids can make sand castles.

Milo: I really like the seesaw board because it was big and it was easy for me to get on and hold on and jump off and make mummy go bang on the ground!

Milo: The baby climbing frame is good for babies but not good for me because I’m not a baby. Der! (which is Milo speak for “This is so completely obvious.”)

Anna: The climbing frame had lots of things to climb on. But you can’t go straight from school because if you climb in a dress people can see your knickers!

Milo: I liked the spinnng around thing but it was hard to  get on and off and hard to push. It went round really fast and it was a bit scary.  And it got a little bit hot. Maybe this is better for bigger kids.

Anna: The metal dish was excellent because it span around fast and I could stand up on it. Until mum told me to sit down please.

Mummy’s verdict: this is a great little park with all the basics including a slide and swings and a climbing frame with a good variety of difficulty. Much of the apparatus is wooden with a very natural feel. There is lots of lovely soft sand around the pirate ship and nooks and crannies to hide in. On the down side, this park has no shade whatsoever and access to the pirate ship is by stairs whereas a ramp would have made it more accessible to all.

We asked Lesley Boniface from Friends of Riverside Park to respond to the review and give us some more information

What a great review and thanks to Milo and Anna – it’s great to see some feedback!
The design for the play park came about as a collaboration/consultation with the local children who were using the Park a couple of years ago when it was obvious the old play equipment was coming to the end of its life.  Chris Bibb at Lewes District Council gave the Friends and Newhaven Town Council some ideas of possible equipment. Then we literally sat on the grass and asked the kids what they wanted over a couple of afternoons.  I also had some ideas from the volunteers and what we see today is literally what was asked for – swings, slides, lots of climbing, some spinning things, a sandpit and room to run around in.
I’d already seen a great imaginative play maze/castle in a Canterbury play park. I asked Chris for an imaginative play area and taking inspiration from the small marina and boat yard across the way a boat came to life.  I’m glad the wood theme is appreciated – we originally thought metal to tie in with the Energy Recovery Facility but Riverside Park is a natural area so the wood fits in better.   My personal favourites are obviously the pirate ship and the big seesaw – it’s great to see the mums and dads joining in playing on the seesaw so Milo’s comment on that are spot on and did make me giggle!
There are still some improvements to be made and the shade situation is one of them – I think Karen/Burleys might be able to advise on that and the empty bed is going to be filled.   We’re also looking into benches for the outside of the play area for parents to sit on if they have dogs with them.   The Town Council are also in the throes of buying an outdoor table tennis table which is going to be placed in the Lewes Road Community Garden but will be for everybody’s use.
No events planned at the moment – we just want the equipment to settle in and the community to enjoy it but who knows what might happen in the future!

So there you have it. Do go along to the new park (take your buckets and spades, maybe a sunshade, and a picnic) and enjoy playing pirates, me hearties!

If you’d like to write a review of your local park, you could win £100 in Wilco vouchers on the “Love Parks” website.