Thursday, 30 October 2014

Play Park Update

Representatives from East Lothian Council, Jupiter Play and the contractors had a meeting on site on Wednesday 29 October to talk through the construction of the project.

It became apparent on site that some of the equipment would need to move to suit the ground contours and minimize the amount of “cut and fill” needed to carry out.

It also highlighted some existing drains on the tarmac that would need to avoided, so again some of the equipment would need to move to make sure we stay clear of these and their underground pipes.

None of the equipment has changed only the positioning has been adjusted.

Shown below is a working drawing showing the changes.  We will update with images in due course.


Tuesday, 28 October 2014

The Play detail

As we mentioned in our previous post, the final design for the play park has been agreed.

Here is the layout.

And here are the individual items (click on the description to go to the manufacturer's website):
A. Double Swing 2.1m high with cradle seats

B. Nest Swing
C. Standing See Saw

D. Aurich Playset

 D. Aurich Playset comprising:
  • 2 Triangular platforms with monopitch roof, PH 1.45 m / 1.70 m
  • 1 Climbing wall 1.03 x 1.75 m, wood, with wooden handles
  • 1 Stainless steel fireman’s pole
  • 1 Vertical wooden ladder
  • 1 Sloping scramble net
  • 1 Triangular lying net made of polyamide Hercules ropes
plus E. Tower Slide

F. Embankment Slide

G. Ramp Ascent
H. Scramble Net

I. 'Charles Dickens' Climbing Station
I. 'Charles Dickens' Climbing Station comprising:
  • 2 Diamond-shaped platforms, PH 1.45 / 1.95 m
  • 1 Rail slide
  • 2 Triangular nets made of polyamide Hercules ropes
  • 18 Ropes made of polyamide Hercules ropes
  • 2 Ladders
  • 1 Free-climbing wall
  • 6 Posts, partly with climbing notches
J.  12 x Jumping Blocks

K.  'Shock-headed Peter' Upside Down Tree Trunk

L. Stilts Course

M. Beach Treasures

N. Infinity Bowl
O. Oak Orb

P, Q, R & S. Sprawl seating
P. Sprawl Seat 1.2m long x 0.4m high
Q. Sprawl Seat 1.2m long x 0.6m high
R. Sprawl Seat 1.2m long x 0.8m high
S. Sprawl Seat 2.0m long x 0.6m high

T. Pendulum Tyre Swing, Round Post

U. Picnic Table

V. Horizontal Bar, double, with ladder bars

The excavated soil will be used to create three mounds.

Boulders, supplied by East Lothian Council, will be place around the Infinity Bowl (shown on the plan as grey circles).


The Play Park plan....REVEALED!

In choosing the design of the play park, we had to balance the preferences shown in the consultation, with budget and physical constraints (such as slopes of the park), ease of maintenance and play value.

We also didn't want to echo what had been done in Drachrig Park at nearby Rigley Terrace so worked closely with the Prestongrange & Cuthill Tenants & Residents Group.

East Lothian Council were hugely helpful in making our £87,000 budget go further by offering to purchase bark on our behalf (because of economy of scale, the council can buy it cheaper than the play equipment companies can).

We felt Jupiter Play had interpreted our request particularly well and, with a couple of changes, we agreed the design at our meeting on 9 October.

To see the individual pieces of equipment in more detail, click here.

So, what happens now?

It will take at least three months for the equipment to arrive and then installation is weather dependent - not ideal in the winter months!  So, realistically, we will be looking at a play park being ready to use in spring 2015 with an official opening in the summer.

October update

October has seen some milestones achieved and some changes to our committee.  In summary:

We met with Jupiter Play and approved the final play park design (more info to follow).

We held a meeting of the Friends.  Tom Ewing agreed to take over as Treasurer from Celia Mainland who is moving to North Berwick.  

Thank you Celia for all you have done.  You will be missed!

We agreed that recruiting volunteers was to be a priority in the year ahead.

We held our monthly work day and weeded the paths in the community garden.

We researched prospective funding bodies.

Discussions continued regarding the possibility of relocating to railway bridge from Prestongrange Museum and the reinstatement of the path between the two sites.

We put together a draft programme of 'biodiversity' themed events for next year.  If you would like to organise an event, we would love to hear from you!

We updated and reminded people about park issues via Twitter

Davie Rutherford and the Community Payback Order team cleared the undergrowth by the front gate which means that people will be able to see into the park which reduces anti-social behaviour (and hopefully encourages passers-by to become visitors!)

East Lothian Council delivered several boulders to the park.  

These are great for natural play and also as informal seating.

Approximate volunteer hours this month: 60

Sunday, 19 October 2014

Making Wildflower Seedbombs

At this time of year, all but one of the wildflower beds in Cuthill Park have been cut back.

From the remaining bed (deliberately left to provide a source of nectar for our insect friends) we have gathered some of the seeds to make seedbombs.

It's very easy and makes an unusual gift.

Mix together:
1 part non-invasive wildflower seeds
3 parts peat-free compost
3 parts bentonite-based cat litter
2 parts water

Mixture should resemble brownie dough and have a firm consistency

Form into small balls, somewhere between the size of a marble and a golf ball

Leave to dry

Store in a cool, dark place

They will be ready to throw in the spring.

Monday, 13 October 2014

In Kind

Without volunteers and good will of local companies, the projects undertaken in the park would simply not go ahead.

Volunteers have pruned apple trees (and taught others how to do the same), done the accounts, built raised beds and so much more.

So much of the work is hidden so we thought it was a good idea to tot up how many hours people give to highlight just how much people value Cuthill Park.

A project like the hedge is a great example of how many people work together to make it happen:
  • A volunteer applied to the Woodland Trust for one of their Harvest Packs (thankfully their 4 page application form is comparatively straight forward).
  • After hearing we had been successful, another volunteer meticulously drew up a planting plan.
  • Another volunteer printed this off and laminated it for distribution on planting day
  • Meanwhile, another volunteer produced a flyer and emailed this to all the schools and community groups in the area and made sure it got coverage in the local press.
  • A volunteer took delivery of the trees and delivered them to the site. 
  • On the day, 62 people gave up their time to plant 402 saplings.
By our reckoning this single project works out at about 130 hours of volunteer time so far

As the group looks towards the next phase of improvements, we will start to keep records of unpaid voluntary work as it can sometimes be used to match fund some projects.

Since January, we estimate that over 600 hours have been given in-kind - the equivalent of over £8,200.

However you help us, we want you to know it is very much appreciated and would be grateful if you could email us a note of the hours you have put in on a monthly basis.

(The figures given do not factor in the invaluable support of the Co-op in hiring a generator and strimmer, or the work carried out by ScottishWater to finally bring water on site - now that kind of support is truly priceless!)

Wednesday, 8 October 2014


The picture below shows the lovely sycamore at the brow of the hill which, in the spring, blooms with crocuses.

We are considering putting some seating around the tree and were wondering whether we should go for something informal and rustic like the four designs shown below?

Or should we instead choose a more formal bench like the circular one?

The rustic design:

  • offers some play experience as well as seating
  • matches the look and feel of the other proposed play items
  • is modular so, theoretically, it can be added to at a later date, should funds allow.

The circular design:

  • makes a focal point
  • has back support and is more comfortable
  • might be problematic for council maintenance (although could be planted)

Additionally, we decided to replace the proposed swing nest with a pendulum swing which can be used by small children and doesn't require lots of children in order for it to be fun (which was our concern with the swing nest).

Doesn't it look great?!
We would love to hear your views at our meeting Thursday 9th October the Goth, Prestonpans.

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Join us!

This Thursday, 9th October, from 7pm. we will be meeting in the Goth.

Even if you haven't been to a meeting or workday before, we hope you will join us.

There is a lot to discuss and even more to be done!

Please, help to make a difference in your community - there are jobs for all, young and old, gardeners and non-gardeners.

The more people involved, the more we can do!

We need people with ideas, building/DIY skills, fundraisers, event managers, storytellers - whatever your talents, we can use them in Cuthill Park.