Ferring Country Centre – Worthing
Founded in 1986, Ferring Country Centre are an independent charity based in West Sussex, providing training and work experience for people with learning disabilities.
Theories Landscapes were commissioned to design and build a small toddler tractor course on an unused part of the Dales Farm area of the Country Centre.
Our Clients Vision
Our client was familiar with benefits of farm attractions and had been thinking of joining the move towards agritourism. However, while having the vision they had not been able to progress with their plans. They approached Theories with their preliminary ideas and asked us to come up with a solution that was safe and simple but engaging for the children and within the confines of an already fenced off area.
We were delighted to be chosen for this project. The area available lent itself to a number of possible ‘signature’ attraction designs we have available. We discussed the options with the client, contrasting the benefits of the various attraction designs against their vision and goals. Ultimately the client opted for a simple tractor course designed such that toddlers would be able to navigate the course safely and easily. The final design was one of our ‘Signature’ designs for an enclosed, circular toddler tractor track, with ‘garages’ for the tractors, seating for adults and a clearly delineated track area with safe run off onto the surrounding grass area.
The Site Period
With a scheduled site period of one week, we had to ensure close communication with all staff and the site team.
The project was finished on time and to budget.
While the design was simple in concept, construction and installation, this project had a few challenges.
- 1 – The tractors are to be ‘driven’ by toddlers. This meant, for the childs enjoyment, and safety, that the track and run off areas had to be clearly delineated BUT safe for the children to drive between the surfaces – so no height difference or curb between the two surfaces.
- 2- Our experience has taught us that choice of materials was going to be very important. Considering safety requirements and maintenance needs, we decided to use
- a) Rubber mulch for the track, this is a recycled material, consistent in height, long lasting with little or no maintenance and inherently safe if a child fell onto the track.
- b) Artificial grass, this was low maintenance, inherently safe and provided the consistently level height needed between the grass and the track surface – without needing the constant care and cutting that real grass would need.
Finally, this was a working farm and was to remain open to the public throughout. We are very used to working on projects where the public, and often with young children on site. So, naturally we used security fencing, ensured deliveries were at set times, ensured the use of machinery and movement of materials was closely monitored at all times.
The Completed Project
The project was completed on time and within the agreed budget. Our designers and installers had taken the clients preliminary vision, working with the client we manifested this into an acceptable design, then delivered the attraction achieving all the clients goals.
We were delighted that the finished Tractor Course was very well received by the client and vistors, and the client was happy to provide us with the following testimonial.
“We were very pleased with the skilled job and professional finish of the track installed at Ferring Country Centre by Theories Landscapes Ltd. Every stage of the project, from planning through to installation, was a pleasure due to the good communication and expertise of the company. The smart, attractive new tractor track will encourage more visitors to Dales Farm at Ferring Country Centre, which is a charity for people with learning disabilities.”
Jo Reading – Commercial Co-ordinator
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