• Durham OnAir

Primary School Celebrates Winning Design for Castle Play Area


An entire class of students from Cockfield Primary School in Bishop Auckland have been personally selected by Lord and Lady Barnard to test out Raby Castle’s exciting and much-awaited new playground The Plotters’ Forest, before it opens to the public at Easter.

On the afternoon of Wednesday 6th April, Class 4 and their teachers will have the run of the new specially designed playground which is nestled in the castle’s Christmas Tree plantation – having beaten other local primary schools in a competition to design an adventure playground of their own.

Cockfield Primary School’s winning design, which according to Lord and Lady Barnard was ‘inspirational, highly creative and showed great class teamwork’, means the whole class will enjoy an afternoon with the playground to themselves.

Lady Barnard and the playground’s specialist designers Creating Adventurous Places will be personally asking the children for their important feedback whilst they are there.

The Plotters’ Forest, inspired by the castle’s history, particularly The Rising of the North in 1569, has been designed to offer an exciting mix of challenge, discovery, and intrigue for all its visitors, both the young and the young at heart – encouraging visitors to be ‘Raby Rebels’ once inside the playground.

It is the first stage of Raby’s wider development scheme The Rising, that promises to attract new visitors to the area and create outstanding recreation for the local community.

The Rising project will include the significant restoration and renovation of several historical buildings on the estate, the creation of a new café and events space, as well as a new visitor hub and landscaped areas.

Young visitors will see special features throughout the site, which represent Raby Castle’s architectural history – including its entrance which has been built to honour the famous Nevill Gateway, and the Plotters’ Spire, a three-story tower with a top-floor slide and unusual pentagon shapes which have been used across the playground.