Millington Road Nursary School, Cambridge
‘The Nest, Bridge, Roof garden, Mud Kitchen and Woodland Screen’
We had a lot of fun working alongside Alice Willits (willowandwren.co.uk) who designed this structure and garden. It was the first project of this kind that we hadn’t designed ourselves, but her knowledge of what we had done in the past enabled the ‘design to build’ process to go really smoothly.
When entering the Nursery you are greeted by the ‘Woodland Screen’, made from Sweet Chestnut branches from the trees used to build the structure and planks we had milled from the thicker ends of the trees. We were aiming for a very open natural feel, completely different to a standard fence.
The majority of the structure is made from Sweet Chestnut. We felled the trees needed for the uprights, handrails and screen. The Chestnut palings were sent to us from a coppice in Kent, and the planks used to make the Mud Kitchen were from the same tree used for the wall plates at the Haverhill ‘Hideaway’.
When building the structures for the Nest, Bridge and Ramp, we used stress graded timber for all joists. We also used Pine for the decking, and added non slip grip where needed.
The steps and ramp take the children on to the roof of an old concrete war bunker. Over looking the bunker is a giant old Oak tree and a beautiful winding Elm tree. They have both been dropping leaves and seeds onto the flat bunker roof, creating a totally self-seeded roof garden. The children are able to look at this through the binoculars spy hole.
We also made some Yew plates that were used for displaying letters and numbers, and as plates for the Mud Kitchen. And we made a Chestnut box for the small water tank.
Along with our structure and screen, Alice also built a ‘Rocky Hillock’, sand pit with giant smooth boulders, a Hazel TeePee, log borders, fairy circle .. the list goes on. It is a truly magical garden for the children to enjoy.