National Trust Outdoor Gym
Encouraged by recent studies showing that exercise in the natural environment boosts well-being, the National Trust approached us to design an Outdoor Gym to enhance their increasingly accessible trail situated alongside the beautiful Loe Pool. It was clear that a generic metal and plastic solution found in an urban setting was not going to be appropriate. We had to integrate their principles of conservation and sustainability into our design, keeping visual disruption to the landscape to a minimum and impacting as little as possible on the local natural environment.
Starting with materials, we decided to source the wood we wanted to use within the Estate itself, specifically ash and chestnut felled as a by-product of woodland management. The timber was hand carved and sanded where needed, but left as unfinished as possible to blend with the natural landscape. To build the structures, each exercise station was designed to use traditional joinery of simple green wood joints and timber pegs. Metal fixtures were kept to a minimum and the foundations used the traditional technique of tamping, which compacts the soil to support the uprights and negates the need for poured concrete. Finally, we complemented each piece of equipment with a stainless steel instructional illustration.
The ‘Green Gym’ has blended well into the trail that leads around the pool, each piece of equipment feels almost stumbled upon between the trees or around a bend. Although designed primarily for adult sizes, we enjoy seeing smaller children repurposing our designs for imaginative play and we are delighted at how the traditional methods we employed have stood the test of the Cornish weather.