Guest Blog from Steph Gore
Me while Pitville Park was under construction: (sharing every Facebook update from Cheltenham Borough Council) How exciting, this looks amazing, can’t wait to go!
Me on opening day: I won’t tell Honey the park is finished, it’ll be rammed on a sunny day like this…..
Me after seeing Facebook posts and photos from friends who had been: Wow! It’s still rammed, we’ll just wait until after half term.
Me after visiting, a week after it opened: What am I doing here? Why is it still so rammed?
It turns out that all the schools in Tewkesbury were closed due to a burst water main on the day we visited the new park and guess where everyone gravitated to? So, it wasn’t quite the calm(ish) quiet(ish) experience I’d imagined but that being said, the zoned layout of the park encourages people to spread out and Honey was able to try out quite a few of the new toys.
There are benches scattered about the place, meaning that older children can run off and play but still have a place to check in with their parents and conversely, where parents can recover from energetic swing pushing, have a chat or drink coffee. On the subject of refreshments, the addition of a small ice cream kiosk is a welcome one. although I can see myself having to ‘forget’ my purse fairly often to avoid having a toddler with a permanent sugar rush!
The designers have clearly thought about their young, yet wide ranging demographic and have catered accordingly. There’s a super cute toddler area with loads of low, easily accessible activities and a ridiculously awesome and MASSIVE tree house inspired climbing frame which is aimed at older children and has sections that can only be accessed by climbing a vertical wall (eek!) For those who prefer something a little more subdued, there’s even a music area where your child can practise those all important scales and arpeggios!
There are however, a couple of things I’ve been wondering about:
- The sand pit. Kids love sand, that’s true…. But who is going to keep it clean(ish), who’s going to pick out the inevitable cigarette butts (and worse, as the latest, disgusting reports have detailed). My child eats sand and the thought of this sand pit in a few months makes me feel a little queasy!
- The tree house. It’s high, really high. Don’t get me wrong, I’d have been the first one to the top when I was a child and I’d never discourage anyone from giving it a go…… But it is high….
- The tunnel through the hill is, at some point, going to have something really disgusting hidden in it. These tunnels always do and in my experience, they usually continue to be minging for absolutely ages because whatever has been left, is left and left and left….
- My children are likely to learn a whole new lexicon of questionable language. People can’t let things be nice and the inevitable scribbled messily (because it’d be much more acceptable if it was neat) on the side of the climbing frame is sure to be a talking point for my phonics obsessed pre-schooler!
Overall, the new park is incredible and something to feel proud of and thankful for. My main hope, is that people of Cheltenham (and beyond) look after it and protect its awesomeness! It has at least tripled in size and has been finished to a really high standard. It has largely been well thought out, has been built using sturdy materials and is finished in bright, engaging colours. The addition of a water play area is fantastic and I just know that every summer time play date we have, will end up being at Pitville Park, so we’ll probably see you there!
Honey wears…. Strawberry sun hat by H&M
Steph escaped to Cheltenham in her early 20’s after growing up in the small Cotswold town of Moreton in Marsh and lured her then boyfriend (now husband) away shortly after. She is Maman to 3 year old Honey and her baby brother Ace and her blog follows their adventures including groups, classes and days out in and around Cheltenham. Steph is also a supporter of local businesses and loves to review products and services, many of which are created or owned by her fellow Mamans de Cheltenham. Visit Steph’s blog or follow her on Instagram.