Grovelands Primary School

Walton-on-Thames - Surrey

Built: September 28, 2020

“It was a pleasure working with EPE and there were no issues at any point. The design, preparation and build all ran incredibly smoothly. This meant that all work was completed in time for the children and to an incredibly high standard. Our pupils love using the new equipment and learning in their new area. Visually, both areas are stunning and they have really improved the aesthetics of the school site, giving everyone a much needed lift.”

D. Tuck – Head Teacher

What were the reasons for developing your outdoor space?

“We chose to develop 2 areas – our reception outdoor learning space and an area by the main playground.

The reception outdoor learning space was entirely empty, as we had just had new tarmac laid after drainage works. We therefore had a blank canvas and needed the area completed before our reception cohort began.

The space next to the main playground was badly in need of redevelopment, as it was worn and tired, and we wanted to give the children some impressive new play equipment as well as improving the surface, which was very patchy with poor grass and dirt.”

How we transformed the play area to provide outdoor learning opportunities for the children:


The new reception area was a blank canvas due to the recent council drainage and tarmac repairs. This allowed our team to work with the school to come up with a unique and exciting plan for the play area.

The design evolved from the idea of two islands joining with a roadway around the outside. One island would include a Forest Climber 1 and the other left clear zone for free play, story times and educational lessons for the children. There was an exciting Trim Trail at the core consisting of Stepping Logs, Log Snake Weaver, Wobble Bridge and a Log Crossing.

Around the outside of the trail and track we situated a Timber Polycarbonate Sheltered Stage, Sand Pit and Play Huts. There were also ground graphics to complete the area including an Alphabet Snake, 1-20 Number Dragon, Hopscotch, Traffic Light, Parking Bays, Petrol Station and a set of Road Safety Crossing Characters.

The surfacing of choice was Wet Pour which gives a broad range of vibrant colours and designs whilst providing all the required safety allowances.

To border the area a combination of amenity fencing was installed including Timber Palisade and Steel Mesh.

KS1 Play Area:

The new KS1 play area needed to provide large groups of children the wow factor in new play areas. The existing ground was hard and bumpy with an old, tired trim trail that had served its time well but now uninviting to the children. During discussions with the school it was agreed that a good mix of high and low level units was required to keep the children challenging themselves but allow them to play at different abilities too. This was a perfect opportunity to combine one of our famous Play Frame 7’s beside a Forest Climber Passo unit.

The whole area was surfaced with Gummibond Recycled Rubber Mulch to allow all weather play, protect the children and rescue the previously unused grass underneath.

How the children will benefit from the new play area:


Reception age children are so keen to learn and play and the excitement of the new play area encourages them to improve many different skills that are crucial to their future development. They will be able to climb, balance, crawl, step, swing, hop, cycle and run all with interesting challenges and features to help them along the way. The units chosen along with the teachers will provide the children with differing degrees of challenges to improve upper and lower body strength, coordination, cooperation and general fitness and well-being.

The outdoor sheltered stage gives them a chance to be imaginative and creative putting on shows and taking part in outdoor learning. The sandpit provides an area for construction play whilst the ground graphics help with literacy and numeracy learning and even road safety whilst they zip around on their bikes and trikes.

KS1 Play Area:

Combining our Play Frame and Forest Climbers is a proven method in providing the children with an amazing amount of unstructured and structured climbing and activity opportunities.

They have challenging units to test their upper and lower body strength, balance and coordination. They will be able to now focus on having a great time during breaks but encourage them to keep fit and healthy whilst having fun.

What were your main reasons for working with EPE over other competitors?

“We had worked with EPE and Matt W previously when we had a climbing wall fitted and were impressed with how easy they were to work with and the quality of the product.

EPE then were able to design fantastic play areas, and we really liked the designs, but they also worked with us to get the right designs. We worked through multiple iterations to achieve the perfect design in each case and so quite simply, they provided us with exactly what we wanted at the design stage. We were also really confident that they would deliver on the designs too.”

Would you work with us again?


Would you recommend us to other schools?         



Walton-on-Thames – Surrey

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