New play area opened at Thornham Walks, near Eye

A new play area, featuring hand carved oak animals, was officially opened yesterday at a north Suffolk village.

Officials at Thornham Walks, near Eye, marked National Play Day with the opening of the area at the parkland, which was attended by more than 100 children and parents.

The play area, which includes swings, rotating and jumping discs and a slide, also features some leap frog posts sculpted from oak from the Thornham Estate and carved animals and a tree trunk bench created by village sculptor Andy Ish.

The opening follows work by the Thornham Magna Community Open Spaces group, Thornham Walks, Mid Suffolk District Council, Thornham Estate, and �49,999 of funding from Groundwork UK's Community Spaces scheme, which is part of the Big Lottery Fund.

Trustees of the Thornham Estate have also made available extra land to be used as a community picnic and leisure area at the site, which includes a photographic gallery, walled garden, fair trade shop, caf� and restaurant.

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Irene Tibbenham, chairman of the open spaces group, said the project had taken two years to get off the ground.

'Opportunities to play together outdoors in safety is now more vital for children and young people than ever before. We hope they will enjoy a fun and adventurous play experience in an extraordinary play area that puts their needs at the fore,' she said.

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Helen Sibley, Thornham Walks Countryside Officer, added: 'This unique and bespoke playground will add value to this unique site, which is used by up to 20,000 visitors a year.'

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