Traverse Walls for Outdoor Play at Ash CE VE Primary School
Earlier this year, we visited Ash CE VE Primary School in Martock, Somerset to enhance their outdoor play facilities and install a traverse wall, specially engraved with the school’s name. Traverse walls offer a unique, physical challenge to the students, and is a great way to provide a low-level climbing activity to build confidence and develop a range of motor skills. The addition of the school name, elegantly carved in pride of place at the top, turns it into the perfect centrepiece to show off school pride.
The project began with an in-person site visit and consultation to understand the school’s vision and space. The design phase involved careful planning to ensure the wall was the perfect balance between fun, challenging, safe and durable. The traverse wall’s height, length and features were carefully considered, with appropriately spaced hand and foot holds to ensure secure climbing. Regular safety inspections and maintenance protocols were established to ensure the wall’s longevity and safety over time.
Safety and Compliance
As with any outdoor play equipment, we take safety very seriously — without compromising on the fun! The height of the traverse wall was carefully chosen to challenge the children without excessive risk, with the highest footholds being no more than 59.9cm from the ground, eliminating the need for mandatory safety surfacing. Wood is smooth to the touch - no splinters here - and recessed screws sit flush into the wood, making it safe for clothes and children!
Traverse wall materials are safe, durable and eco-friendly, using pressure-treated wood. This guarantees resistance to insect infestation and rot for up to 10 years. This means it’s capable of withstanding both the physical demands of climbing and play, and the varied and unpredictable British weather. At six metres in length, it provides enough space for children to challenge their stamina, experience a varied and engaging climb without overwhelming them. It’s long enough to present a fun challenge, but short enough to keep the climb manageable and enjoyable — even for younger climbers.
Installing a traverse wall is relatively straightforward, but detailed and requires careful attention to ensure that the structure is both stable and secure.
Site Selection and Preparation
The first step involves choosing the right location for the wall. This includes considering the available space, sunlight exposure, and proximity to other playground equipment. The ground at the selected site is then prepared, which may involve levelling and clearing any debris to create a suitable foundation for the wall.
Constructing the Base
A stable and strong base is crucial for a freestanding wall. This often involves laying a concrete foundation or using heavy-duty ground anchors to secure the wall firmly in place. The base must be capable of supporting the weight of the wall and the climbers without any risk of tipping or shifting.
Assembling the Wall Structure
This step involves attaching the wooden sections together securely, ensuring that the entire structure is aligned and correctly positioned. The assembly must be done with precision to maintain the integrity of the climbing surface and the overall structure.
Attaching Climbing Holds
Once the wall structure is assembled, climbing holds are attached. The placement of these holds is strategic, designed to offer a variety of routes and challenges for different skill levels. The holds should be firmly attached to prevent them from becoming loose during use.
After the wall is assembled and the climbing holds are in place, a thorough safety inspection is conducted. This includes checking the stability of the wall, the security of the holds, and ensuring there are no sharp edges or protruding elements that could pose a risk to climbers.
Adding Safety Surfacing (if needed) While traverse walls are generally low to the ground and designed for horizontal climbing, adding safety surfacing around the wall can provide an extra layer of protection. This might include rubber mulch, soft-pour rubber, or other impact-absorbing materials. Since our traverse walls measure below the maximum free-fall height of 0.6m, safety surfacing is optional, but we can talk you through our available options.
Traverse walls can be standalone, like the one at Ash C of E Primary, but they can also be incorporated into a larger playground piece, such as a trim trail or clamber stack. If you would like to know more about mixing and matching outdoor play structures, or want to add a traverse wall to an existing one, get in touch with our experts or arrange a free site visit.
The completion of the bespoke traverse wall at Ash CE VE Primary School in Martock, Somerset, marks a significant milestone in the school's journey towards enhancing outdoor play and learning. This custom-designed feature, standing proud with the school's name etched upon it, is more than just a new playground element; it represents the school's dedication to building courage, strength (both physical and mental) and fosters a sense of achievement and determination among its students, as they learn to navigate and overcome obstacles.
We're immensely proud of this collaboration and look forward to continuing our mission of enriching the lives of children through imaginative and active play.
Inspired by Ash CE VE Primary School? Got an outdoor play space you're not really sure what to do with? We can help, from design and layout to installation, disposal and removal of old structures. We can also help with funding advice and grant application, helping you create the playground your school and its community deserve.
Contact us today to discuss your project, and let's work together to bring your vision to life!