Wednesday, 22 April 2015

East Lothian Home Educators Enjoy Cuthill Park.

Today we had a small group of some of the local home educating families visit the park. They had a lot of fun!

The Park has definitely received the approval of the Home Educating community. It's a great place for children to be able to range free and explore both the play equipment & nature, in peace & safety.  More visits will follow. :) 

(Interested in home education? See the Edinburgh and Beyond Home Educators website (within this network there is an active East Lothian sub-group) or Schoolhouse

Monday, 20 April 2015

A Video of the Play Area

Sunday, 19 April 2015

This Charming Geocache!

Geocaching is a high-tech treasure hunting game played throughout the world by adventure seekers equipped with GPS devices. The basic idea is to locate hidden containers, called geocaches, outdoors and then share your experiences online. Geocaching is enjoyed by people from all age groups, with a strong sense of community and support for the environment.

Geocaching is a great way of discovering places off the beaten track or adding a fun element to an otherwise unremarkable walk.  You have probably walked past countless geocaches already!

Wherever you are in the world, you are never too far away from a geocache.  Prestonpans has several geocaches ranging from the quick 'cache and dash' variety to the multi-location puzzle-solving variety that take a couple of hours to solve.

Cuthill Park is currently home a geocache called "This Charming Park (GC5RD5B)"- learn more at or watch the movie below:

Monday, 13 April 2015

More veg beds.

Do you, or anybody you know, want to try your hand at growing your own food? We are about to dig several more small raised beds (1m x 1m) which will be available for members of the local community to adopt & use to grow their own veg. 
Please email us if you'd like to know more. 

First small bed taking shape:

Cuthill Park, a park for the entire community - Jupiter Play

A guest blog post by Jupiter Play

Site: Prestongrange Road, Prestonpans (Edinburgh)
Client: East Lothian Council
Budget: £77,000
Age range: from toddlers to teenagers


What was the customer looking for?
East Lothian Council put a tender out for a play area in Prestonpans. They were looking for a playground made with natural components, with separate play zones for toddlers, older children, seating, picnic areas and space for community events. We decided to go for it as we were confident that our timber range (supplied by FHS Holtztechnik) would perfectly suit the brief of the project.

Did the customer have a specific idea about materials?
Yes, the client was looking for Robinia timber to achieve a par with a natural feel that blends well with the natural features of the site and robust enough to withstand the challenges associated with a secluded sight with no informal supervision from overlooking houses and neighbours. The client asked for wood chip for the safety surface, which we totally agreed with as we think it is cost effective and complements the Robinia wood very well.

Were there any particularities with the location?
Indeed! The site was quite challenging as there was a mixture of ground conditions to take into account. There were spaces remaining after the removal of previous playground equipment that were filled with spoil. A large expanse of tarmac had to be retained and incorporated into the design. The remainder of the site had very undulating grass areas surrounded by sloping hills lined with trees.

Were there any community interests you had to consider?
Certainly! One of the key aspects of this project was that there were two stakeholders involved: our client (East Lothian Council) and the community group (Friends of Cuthill Park), both with very specific ideas of the park they wanted for the neighbourhood. An example of this was the teen shelter. The Community group wanted a shelter where teenagers would have a space to gather and shelter from the rain. However, the local authority didn’t see this as a good idea as they were concerned about possible anti-social behaviour. We highlighted to the community group the potential hazards of a youth shelter and introduced them other alternatives as carefully sited seating which they were happy with. We also included some very popular pieces of equipment such as the pendulum swing, always a star attraction.


How did you overcome the challenge with the ground?
We don’t like destroying the beautiful landscape of the sites and, if possible, we try to respect that as much as we can. On this occasion we utilised the remaining grass areas to install our equipment for the older age group. This was seen as a good solution by our client, who really liked the idea of respecting the natural contours of the landscape. Also some excavation on the ground was required to accommodate the woodchip safer surfacing to the correct depth.

How was the equipment used to suit this project?
Within our timber range we chose the equipment that best followed the natural feel of the landscape. We went for units like the Charles Dickens, which incorporates ropes and fixed platforms, giving children different play experiences as well as being able to follow the existing contours of the area.

What do you like the most about this play design?
We’re delighted to see that once again our timber range – FHS Holtztechnik- complements the natural surroundings. It also makes us proud to carry out projects that respect and enhance the natural environment as much as possible.


IMG_5626b IMG_5628b
What do you think children will enjoy the most of this play area?
The best thing about this park is that it’s not only for children, it’s for the whole family and community! Apart from the diverse selection of equipment that children have to play with, there are also picnic benches and plenty of space for adults to sit and relax, making the perfect space for a family day out. There is also plenty space for community events to take place alongside the play area.

Is the customer happy with the result? What are their comments?
Carol Sneddon and Jan Barker, from the Friends of Cuthill community group say:
We are really happy with the way Jupiter Play interpreted our brief and carried out the installation. The play equipment was installed quickly and we were pleased with the solutions that Jupiter Play came up with. It’s lovely to see families driving from all over Prestonpans to bring their children, and the ones living closest have been going daily over the Easter holidays. We would definitely recommend Jupiter Play to other community groups”. 

The community group Twitter page comments read:
loving the new park so does my niece. Great to see so many people using it”, 
A park alive with children and parents 6:45 on spring evening” 
 “FINISHED!  Check out your GORGEOUS new play park”.

All this really makes every second of our work worth it.

(original blog post can be seen here)

Saturday, 11 April 2015

Moving mountains (in rain, sun & hail).

Today we had our first work day of the year at the community garden. There was a mountain of topsoil which has now shrunk significantly & been relocated to more useful areas; and some weeding was completed.
And, on a side note, our new telescope has been installed at the top of the hill.

Starting to dig:

We had 4 LDS (Mormon) missionaries hard at work helping to move the mountain:

And even a teenager helping rake the seating mound by the fire pit:

More soil moving - filling raised bed 6: 

Levelling bed 6:

We were grateful for the missionaries' strength!

Relocated log seating:

And then it hailed, & we kept working! 

A good few hours of work :) 
Many thanks to all who came, & especially to Elders Barney, de Vries, Platt & Erickson. 
Next work day is April 25th, 11-1pm. Everyone is welcome - and it's not just strenuous soil-moving tasks; we have all types of jobs needing to be completed. 

Sunday, 5 April 2015


It's all done!

Look at the beautifully resurfaced path:

Nice & smooth for bikes & scooters, too. 

The slide is in place.

It all looks even better in the sunshine!

Ropes & scramble nets all in place.

And this swing has been a star attraction (some of the children were getting it to swing so high the chains were almost horizontal!).

Great for co-operative play:

Wednesday, 1 April 2015

Even more nearly complete!

The play area is looking so good! Just waiting for the slide to arrive in the next few days, & then the swings & scramble nets to be hung.

East Lothian Council have also assessed the Tarmac & decided to resurface that too, so the whole play area will look brand new. Special thanks go to Dougie Fox & Stuart Pryde of ELC for being so supportive, on the ball & responsive throughout this whole process. 

How things look now: 

And the view from near the top of the hill (Arthur's Seat, Edinburgh, just visible on the skyline).