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WEST COUNTRY PARK
Shrub End, Colchester


Sitting or swinging, going clockwise around the unit from Our Chairman Sonia Grantham (behind the word Site), are Cllrs. Julie Ward, Colleen Peverell, Michael Talbot, George Gibbs and Leslie Fuller. The unit is built in strong telegraph pole type timber with tyres as seats swinging from chains.

Our Chairman Sonia Grantham with Cllr Leslie Fuller Chair of the Open Spaces Committee, which includes our playgrounds, along with Cllr Julie Ward who has a special responsibility for the Martins Farm Country Park, arranged with contacts at Essex County Council for a delegation of St Osyth Parish Council Members to visit a site similar to our Martins Farm Country Park. This park is in James Carter Road, Colchester and named the Westlands Country Park, some 40 acres in extent, about half the area of Martins Farm Park.
The Westlands Park is in Prettygate and was opened in August 2007. It had at one time been a pit left after sand and gravel extraction had ended and was then used by Essex County Council as a landfill site for many years until its closure six or seven years ago.
The land filled material was compacted and sealed under a clay cap with good topsoil covering the whole, on which trees and shrubs were planted, exactly the same recovery methods as those used at our Martins Farm Park. Our interest as a Parish was in the equipment installed in the Park and how it was maintained.
Needless to say the heavy snowfall a few days previously was not something ordered by our Chairman, but Sonia said the visit should go ahead as all the arrangements had been made and guides had been laid on to accompany us.


Cllrs. Leslie Fuller and Colleen Peverell at the Notice Board at the entrance to the Park . They are attracted by the ‘Friends’ notice.


The notice being pointed at is shown above. It encourages residents and visitors to join ‘The Friends of Westlands Country Park’


This was a most attractive and unusual feature of the park. It is called ‘Zipwire’ a type of aerial runway providing a single person ride from a high end (nearest camera) down to a station at the other end. This was provided by the Friends of Westland Park who secured £24,000 to build both this 30 metre long Zipwire and the hexagonal tyre swing for teenagers, left in the above picture, (Being used by St Osyth Council members in the top photograph!).


This shows the Zipwire seat which is taken up to the high end platform, sat on, and gravity takes the passenger to the other end.


Another piece of equipment which seemed to be like an adventure route, but the snow on the ground quite obscured its purpose.


This is the visiting St Osyth group with our two guides either side. A younger children’s’ play facilities can be seen in the background.

The panel agreed it had been a worthwhile visit, but a lot of money had been spent on providing the equipment. A quote from a Colchester web site say: “A Large park playground offering more elaborate equipment which is set out separately to appeal to different age groups. In addition there is a separate trim trail”.
The two playground areas for children, cost £70,000 the largest part provided by grants from Cory Environmental Trust and Essex Environmental Trust, because the park is a former landfill site, plus the £24,000 for the Zipwire raised by the friends of Westlands Country Park from various sources.
As you can readily see Colchester has not funded this park anymore than St Osyth or Tendring can fund Martins Farm. We may not want play facilities at Martins Farm Country Park, but Cllrs. Julie Ward and Alan Rolfe who pay regular supervisory visits to our Park would like to see better facilities for walkers, cyclists, fitness groups and picnickers, with perhaps even some sort of toilet such as a portaloos, particularly in the Summer when many more people are present in the park.

M.J.T.
15/2/12


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