Abbey Gardens, World Heritage Site, Bury St Edmunds

Client: St Edmundsbury Council
Location: Bury St Edmunds
Date: June 2011 (Phase 1) Inception: 2010
Capital Cost:  £200,000 .

In this hugely important and archaeologically sensitive public green space in the centre of Bury St Edmunds, the new play area sits between the dramatic ruins of the medieval abbey and a straight run of the River Lark. The intermingling of culture and nature provides the context for the scheme and dramatically reinstates the relationship between the play area and its setting, opening up the waters edge, integrating the change of levels and previously separated woodland and thus determines the choreography of the scheme. This shared public space now celebrates and explores the softer, more ephemeral materials of our cultural heritage to contrast with the durable stone of the historic ruins, resonating with the earlier Saxon settlement that existed at the water’s edge. This includes carved and rustic timbers, fabric, tiles and plants, sand and water. Features include the beautifully daring tree houses and the central Gathering Place where new programmes focus on play with loose materials.

Tree House Design by Judi Legg and Amazon Treehouses.