Work begins on new outdoor adventure area at Blists Hill

Construction has started on an imaginative family-friendly outdoor adventure experience set to open at Blists Hill Victorian Town this summer.

Nick Ralls, Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust CEO, Rory Hunter, special projects director, Steven Vass, CAP designer and Chris Moore, CAP site manager
Nick Ralls, Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust CEO, Rory Hunter, special projects director, Steven Vass, CAP designer and Chris Moore, CAP site manager

The new Madeley Wood Company Outdoor Adventure attraction will feature elevated walkways above the woodland floor, a log-style basket swing, see-saw and lookout tower with a coal chute slide.

Designers, Creating Adventurous Places (CAP), which is also creating a similar playground on the Queen’s Sandringham Estate, arrived on site earlier this week to begin work on the latest addition to one of the region’s most popular attractions.

As life starts to slowly return to normal for millions of families thanks to the reopening of schools, bosses at the Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust said they couldn’t wait to see children enjoying the new play experience.

Chief executive Nick Ralls said: “It’s incredibly exciting to see the start of construction after spending so long in the planning phase – and it seems particularly apt that it’s happening in the same week that children are allowed back into schools.

“We can’t wait to see the plans brought to life over the next few months, ready for a fantastic summer of outdoor fun. And after the year we’ve just been through, it’s more important than ever that we can all get outdoors and let off some steam.”


Built among trees and inspired by the area’s rich mining past, Shropshire’s newest attraction will also feature wheelchair-accessible multi-level themed buildings, immersive play areas and a toddler zone with a faux mine-cart track, play buildings, a slide and miniature zip-line.

Families will also be able to get refreshments from the on-site food and drink kiosk and relax under the adjacent covered seating area.

Mr Ralls revealed the area would not be the only change awaiting visitors when they were allowed to return.

“This is the first significant development at Blists Hill since 2009 – but it’s not the only project we have planned," he said.

"There’s a number of exciting changes that will be taking place at our museums, so when visitors can finally return, they will be in for a real treat.”

Paul Travers, design and project manager for CAP, said: "We’re thrilled to finally be putting boots on the ground to bring the Madeley Wood Company Outdoor Adventure to life.

“It’s been a challenging but rewarding 18 months working with the team at the trust to deliver the project, and we firmly believe that the final build will prove to be a benchmark play project in the way it integrates with, and enhances, the experience and offering at Blists Hill Victorian Town for the whole family. We just can’t wait to have a play.”

The trust – a registered heritage conservation and education charity which cares for 35 listed buildings and structures in the Gorge – has named the outdoor adventure after the Madeley Wood Company, which historically ran mine operations on the site.

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