1971 – St Anns Adventure Playground – first in Nottingham opens – still open today 

1970’s – Balloon Woods, Broxtowe, Tennyson Street opened – unsure of exact dates. Balloon Woods Management Committee Constitution was adopted in 1976 so it is likely it was open for some time before this 

1975 – Nottingham Adventure Play Association established – supports and acts as information body for adventure playgrounds. Source: Play Review, P10  

1977 – Edwards Lane Adventure Playground opens, from information we have found we believe it closed in the early 1980’s, soon after closure houses were built, now known as Portland Court, just off Edwards Lane 

1980’s – During this time Tennyson Street became known as ‘Cuckoo’s Nest’ and a large Mural was painted on the side wall of the building. It is not known when it reverted to Tennyson Street, but was then known as Tennyson Street Playcentre


1986 – Forest Fields Playcentre opens – replacing Hyson Green Play project which operated at the playground at Hyson Green Flats – where Asda is today 

1990’s – Staffing of these play projects was transferred to Nottingham City Council, whilst the projects themselves were still run by management committees consisting of parents and volunteers from the local community 

2002 - Broxtowe Adventure Playground closes due to fire, alternative play sessions run from 6 Ways Community Centre, also on Broxtowe estate 

2006 - Phoenix Adventure Playground (formerly Broxtowe) re opens in Spring of 2006 with a new name chosen by the local community 

2006 – Balloon Woods Management Committee folds and the playground comes under direct control of Nottingham City Council 

2007 - Nottingham City Council gets Pathfinder Funding to renovate lots of playgrounds and build a new Adventure Playground - Bestwood is chosen as the location for this 

2010 – The Ridge Adventure Playground opens in Bestwood, around the same time Nottingham City Council closes Tennyson Street, Playcentre in Radford  

2011 - Tennyson Street Playcentre re-opens under a voluntary management committee until 2012, both PlayWorks and the Partnership Council run play sessions there until the building and playground finally closes and is put up for sale in December 2016, its future is currently unknown 

2017 - Balloon Woods Adventure Playground closes –the sites use is transferred to alternative education 

2021 – Today there are 4 Staffed Adventure Playgrounds & Playcentres in Nottingham City – Forest Fields Playcentre, Phoenix Adventure Playground, St Anns Playcentre and The Ridge Adventure Playground. They are all run by Nottingham City Council and play sessions are inclusive and delivered by a team of Playworkers. The playgrounds today are of the fixed equipment variety and they are complimented by indoor space and offer worker led activities in addition to freely chosen play.  

What are the differences between conventional playgrounds & adventure playgrounds? 

Conventional Playgrounds 

 Original Adventure Playgrounds 

Pre-made play structures  

No readymade play equipment  

Play Can be limited by the fixed play equipment 

No predetermined agenda  

Fixed play equipment is often the same across a variety of play areas 

Children introduce content and meaning through own action – a unique space is created 

Designed to function without adult intervention 

 Playworker & often community involvement