Sitting on the banks of the River Kennet, Chilton Foliat Primary School in Hungerford, West Berkshire installed a SureSet Resin Bound rainscape in their children’s playground. Keen to solve the problem of the playground flooding the school approached their local Rivers Trust, Action for the River Kennet (ARK). Together they sought funding to create a play space that managed surface water sustainably.
ARK has a successful track record of creating rain gardens in school settings. They collaborated with the award-winning Wendy Allen Designs, which specialises in creative rainwater solutions. Having previously worked with SureSet before in a Show Garden, Wendy knew that their resin-bound permeable surfacing was perfect for this project. ARK works together with schools and Wendy Allen to design projects that provide play and amenities, as well as increase biodiversity and improve rainwater management.
Drawing inspiration from the river and wishing to promote love for the local area, the school asked for a design that would benefit the wildlife in the playground and the water quality in the nearby river. Wendy Allen’s innovative design included imaginative play features. A 1350L cylindrical water storage tank was installed (it was painted to look like a caterpillar). This tank holds any collected rainwater to reuse for watering plants. A hand pump can be used by pupils to direct water to the top of a slope, where a ‘permeable stream’ play feature allows water to soak in over tree roots.
During the first part of the project, the existing main play area surfaces were covered in resin-bound. This was to create a seamless and level play space. SureSet’s 6mm Chestnut blend was selected, which is a beautiful natural dark brown stone with hints of deep red. The playground area is approximately 50m², that stretches across some well-established tree roots. It was important when resurfacing this area that the roots were not damaged, but could also receive sufficient water. SureSet resin-bound paving is a SuDs compliant material, that allows water to drain through, reducing puddling. Importantly, this ensures that water is able to drain down to the tree roots or any nearby runoff points.
The installation of the stream feature was funded by the charity ARK. The installation took place just after the Easter school holidays, in May 2022. SureSet advised Garden Designer, Wendy Allen, on the best way to create a natural-looking ‘stream’ play feature. They were keen to incorporate a blue tumbled crushed glass with occasional white flecks to capture a true artistic measure of a running stream. The boulders and logs acted as the retaining edges for the resin-bound stream to be installed. The finished stream was a winding 0.5m wide by 10m long, on a roughly 7% slope.
Working as part of a nature-based scheme to cope with climate change, that is based on water management and education was a pleasure. We are so pleased resin-bound paving is being used for its permeable characteristics, and we know it will provide the school with years of use and minimal maintenance.
Head of Commercial Sales & Operations