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Howard Park play areas reopen with new equipment and sensory trail

20 December 2021
Cllr Steve Jarvis with the new finger maze at Howard Park

Christmas came early for the children of Letchworth this week as the play areas at Howard Park and Gardens reopened after being closed for three months for a major refurbishment.

North Herts Council worked with Groundwork East on the project, and following a public consultation last year, a new sensory trail has been added and much of the play area has been renovated with new equipment such as a sand pit climbing frame and a roundabout designed for older children.

Along the sensory pathway, there is play equipment that stimulates the senses which include sight, hearing, touch, movement and balance. These elements include concave and convex mirror panels, a woodland themed finger maze, wobbly bridge and sound cones so you can hear the faintest whisper across the playground.

Councillor Steve Jarvis, Executive Member for Environment and Leisure, said: "The play area at Howard Park has always been popular, but we wanted to ensure it was more inclusive, so that children of all ages and abilities are able to play, be challenged, and have fun together. We are pleased with the end result and hope the children are too."

Six-year-old Matylda (pictured) said: "It’s really fun. I have been here before but I love the new stuff, my favourite is the funny mirrors." 

Julia Watts, Senior Landscape Architect at Groundwork East, added: "Howard Park sits at the heart of the community and it has been a privilege to work with North Herts Council on improvements to the playground. There is something for everyone."

The play area at Howard Park was identified for improvements through our Green Space Strategy and used £80k from last year’s annual budget – the refurbishment has been delayed due to Covid-19 and supply issues. We are about to consult on a new Green Space Strategy 2022-27 – look out for details on how to have your say in the New Year.

Located in the heart of Letchworth, Howard Park and Gardens was created over 100 years ago as a central part of the world’s first garden city. The park side includes play areas for all ages and abilities, a large paddling pool with splash fountains and a summer refreshment kiosk. 

Howard Park and Gardens is located in Norton Way South, a 10-minute walk from the town centre.