Taylor and Coombs get ready to join Canberra’s ‘nature playground’ trend

James Coleman 14 September 2021 62
Playground design sketch

A design sketch of the proposed all-ages, adventure-style playground in Coombs. Photo: SLA.

It can’t be a true Canberra suburb without a playground. And sure enough, the new suburbs of Taylor and Coombs are getting the treatment.

Don’t expect to find your traditional arrangement of swings, slides and monkey bars, though. There’s a new kid on the block called ‘nature play’ and it seems ACT families are all over it.

The movement harks back to simpler times and has swept the nation in response to the shrinking backyard, the rise of apartment living and alarm at the increasing amount of time children are staring into screens.

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The ACT Suburban Land Agency (SLA) has been carving out such a space along Judith Macintosh Crescent in Taylor. When it opens shortly, it will be the third of its type in the Gungahlin region.

There’ll be balancing log trails, loose stones and pebbles, loose sticks and branches, stepping stones and logs, a loose rock campfire, three tepee tents, and other bits and pieces of purely natural equipment.

The honour of the first nature play space went to Giralang in 2018. This was followed by three more in 2019 – Glebe Park in the city, one in Farrer, and another at Eddison Park in Woden. Kambah Adventure Playground has been overhauled to the same principles, while more recently, Yerrabi Pond District Park opened last year.

For those a little older in the Taylor district, the play space also incorporates a dirt BMX bike track made up of undulating bumps, a sloped turn, and a series of quick, curving turns. An asphalt path girds its sides so people can watch from a safe distance, while a signposted point in the track gives pedestrians a chance to cross safely.

The space is edged in on all sides by native gardens and overlooked by a stony hill-top viewing area so siblings, friends and families can keep a watchful eye.

Meanwhile, a forest-themed play metropolis is coming to a 9,379 square-metre space alongside Edgeworth Parade in Coombs. Suburban Land ACT has approved the sketches and the building is expected to be completed by March 2022.

It will take the general principles of nature play but build on it with more traditional equipment such as swings, dual slides, spider nets, carousels, in-ground trampolines and more.

Narrabundah playground

A wooden tepee at Narrabundah playground. Photo: Michelle Kroll.

The original design proposal included a toilet block and recreational sports facility, but both have been shelved in favour of more seating and picnic areas alongside Holden Creek.

This followed criticism from the community over how close the toilets would be to residential houses and will make it the 15th playground in the Molonglo Valley to miss out on public amenities. The only one to score them in recent times was Ridgeline Park in Denman Prospect.

The playground was also pushed west of the initial site to minimise the visual impact of the playground from the Edgeworth Parade.

For those desperate to get the kids out of the house but not sure where to look, Canberran mum Astoria Bright has done the hard yards with her website, Playgrounds of Canberra.

Since last year, she and her son Elijah have extensively documented photos, information, and ratings to create a comprehensive map of playgrounds across the ACT.

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62 Responses to Taylor and Coombs get ready to join Canberra’s ‘nature playground’ trend
Renea Hazel Renea Hazel 8:52 pm 20 Sep 21


Clare Thomas Clare Thomas 1:18 pm 18 Sep 21

What about accessibility for greater inclusion for everyone?

Abbey Rose Abbey Rose 6:28 pm 17 Sep 21

Rhii-Lee Mcdonald This looks amazing

Sophie Stoddard Sophie Stoddard 8:50 am 17 Sep 21

Zali Starkis let’s go!

Susanne Levy Susanne Levy 10:42 pm 16 Sep 21

Building this to be used by tumbleweeds . Maybe stop getting us into debt for things we may never use again considering our supposed new normal

Lach Trev Lach Trev 5:31 pm 16 Sep 21

Erin Louise Joanne Foster Jeremy Foster the kids would love this.

Callam Sansom Callam Sansom 3:41 pm 16 Sep 21

Dan Tim “bmx bike track” better actually have jumps that cater to all levels not just a pissy little pump track 😂

    Tim Pope Tim Pope 4:02 pm 16 Sep 21

    Callam Sansom can’t wait 👌🏽

    Dan Fernandes Dan Fernandes 4:08 pm 16 Sep 21

    Callam Sansom that’s exactly what it’s gonna be 😂

    Callam Sansom Callam Sansom 4:13 pm 16 Sep 21

    I’m holding onto a shred of hope they at least make 2 lines, one small and one medium that’s still fun for us to ride hahah

    Callam Sansom Callam Sansom 4:14 pm 16 Sep 21

    No way will there be a expert line out there 😂

Mandie Jane Mandie Jane 1:45 pm 16 Sep 21

Love the natural play

They really should be including bathroom facilities at Coombs. Small kids don’t plan bathrooms trips especially playing. They have finally recognised this at Denman Ridge park after umpteen kids peeing in the bushes around the park.

While the residents close by thought it would attract drug use in the bathrooms and got them removed. Think they are about to learn the hard way of small kids / kids parties and bathrooms close by.

Kate Amidy Kate Amidy 9:04 am 16 Sep 21

Stephanie Sleen if we're ever allowed to hang out...

Tina Tsiros Tina Tsiros 9:03 pm 15 Sep 21

Would be nice to get some old suburbs rejuvenated parks

Christine Wells Newham Christine Wells Newham 8:01 pm 15 Sep 21

Tegan Wells bike track

Liissa Gray Liissa Gray 8:47 am 15 Sep 21

Rennae Tozer show bre and Sal xx

    Bre Ttzz Bre Ttzz 9:39 am 15 Sep 21

    Rennae Tozer wow!!!!!!

    Michael J Wheatley Gillian Strathdee this will be so amazing!

    Rennae Tozer Rennae Tozer 9:45 am 15 Sep 21

    When u all are finally out of lock down

    Bre Ttzz Bre Ttzz 10:32 am 15 Sep 21

    Michael J Wheatley oh. BAHAHAHA Derp!

Amy Carne Amy Carne 12:38 am 15 Sep 21

Why does coonbs and Taylor even need another park? There's decent parks everywhere in those suburbs already. Scullin still has a antique wooden playground thats not even worth visiting for us..

Nat Thomas Nat Thomas 9:51 pm 14 Sep 21

I wish more accessible parks existed..

Bec Andrews Bec Andrews 9:05 pm 14 Sep 21

Wouldn't quite call it BMX. It's tiny. Still pretty cool though

Nick Claydon Nick Claydon 8:23 pm 14 Sep 21

What about building decent parks in existing suburbs? Why does Coombs need one when there is an awesome option in Denman. What about Belconnen? Our parks are crap!

    Astoria Bright Astoria Bright 9:56 pm 14 Sep 21

    Nick Claydon Some helpful information - investment of suburban infrastructure across Canberra as part of the 2021-22 ACT Budget will see Aranda and Kaleen receive funding for either upgrades to existing playgrounds or creating new ones based on community consultation that will happen soon. There will also be a new "destination playground" for a location in the inner north which nothing has been announced yet.

    Nick Claydon Nick Claydon 9:57 pm 14 Sep 21

    Astoria Bright thanks for the info 🙂

Jess Shortland Jess Shortland 7:04 pm 14 Sep 21

Joseph Mcgrath bmx it is

Jacklyn Bryant Jacklyn Bryant 7:00 pm 14 Sep 21

Nicole Te Riini the boys will love this next visit!

Diana Watts Diana Watts 5:55 pm 14 Sep 21

Jay Wat bmx track!!!

Tahlia Schwalm Tahlia Schwalm 4:58 pm 14 Sep 21

Would love to see ACT Government do something like this in west belconnen

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