A NATURAL play area is proving a great success with youngsters who delight in climbing on The Castle at Talbot View.

The £9,395 Poole Project was the result of public consultation in which residents called for natural play features to be installed in the area.

Winston Avenue was chosen as the ideal site to minimise disturbance to nearby residents and ecological areas while blending into the landscape.

The Castle uses sawn logs and carved stone to provide a fun playground for children aged between one and nine years, while developing agility, balance and co-ordination.

Inspired by the theme of an old castle, children negotiate a "drawbridge" made of wonky planks and upright log poles and crawl through a hole in a gateway stone to reach a circular castle hall. They are welcomed by two big chairs and traces of an olds stone floor.

Stepped logs linked by low mounds create the castle walls on which children can climb, jump and balance and a cluster of stopped logs outside create a vantage point.

Residents enjoyed coffee, cake and a ribbon cutting as the new playground was officially opened.

“We are delighted to see our local community benefitting from investment in the area, and particularly our local children," said Cllr Drew Mellow, who represents Branksome East.

"It has been fantastic to see this sustainable facility so well used and I’m thankful to all our residents for engaging so positively with the consultation exercises we ran.”

Cllr John Rampton, cabinet portfolio holder for environment and consumer protection, Borough of Poole, added: “We know that our open spaces are greatly valued by the people who live nearby, so it’s great to see residents engaging with the new play area which I’m sure will continue to prove very popular.

"In addition, we are really pleased that natural materials like felled wood are given a second lease of life in developing children's imaginations and providing hours of fun.”

Annual inspections will be carried out by an independent organisation and a safety audit will help create a long term plan for future maintenance.