Play trail proposed to enhance children's outdoor adventure experiences

PUBLISHED: 16:09 15 January 2009 | UPDATED: 22:53 15 June 2010

PROVIDING Honiton with something truly fantastic is the aim of an East Devon District Council project to develop a play trail on a nature reserve in the town.

PROVIDING Honiton with "something truly fantastic" is the aim of an East Devon District Council project to develop a play trail on a nature reserve in the town.

The cost of the scheme, which aims to benefit children with disabilities, could be as much as £38,000 and includes a tree house-style shelter.

A pond and outdoor education area are also part of the proposal.

More than 600 children in the town have already been consulted and asked for their input.

Ishbel Ramsay, the council's arts development officer, gave a presentation about the project to Honiton Town Council and admitted she was there "cap in hand".

She asked the council to prioritise Section 106 cash, given by developers towards play facilities in Honiton, towards the project.

The district council has allocated £19,000 towards the cost of the project from a Big Lottery grant of £204,000, but is looking for match-funding or, at least, a contribution towards the scheme.

Ms Ramsay said the trail, in Honiton Bottom Road, would give children and families a chance to enjoy outdoor adventure experiences.

"There will be a pathway following the course of the river," she said. "Activities, arranged either side of it, will blend in with the environment. Natural materials and natural colours will be used. It won't be something that will spoil the landscape."

The project aims to appeal to children of all ages.

Ms Ramsay said £14,588.71 is available for play facilities in Honiton from "various pots".

"I want to help Honiton by providing something truly fantastic," she said.

Councillor Michael Teare said: "I think it is absolutely fantastic."

"I think we certainly should be supporting it," said Councillor Roy Coombs.

Former mayor Councillor Vernon Whitlock said the council should not make a decision there and then - in case other groups in the town needed cash for play facilities.

The council agreed to defer a response until the matter is discussed at a policy committee meeting.

East Devon District Council is seeking planning permission to change the use of the land, so people can enjoy it for recreational purposes.

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