Adventure play: lost and found
Imagine coming to a ruined castle, walking through its gardens and into the woodlands and stumbling across one of the largest adventure playgrounds in the country. When you do this at Lowther, you have found the lost castle.
Designed by CAPco, the Curious Adventure Play company, the lost castle is an architectural echo of Lowther Castle itself, built from 18,000 metres of sustainable timber. There are ramps and steps and a firepole and a maze of turrets, zipwires, walkways and slides. There is a toddlers’ area and a sandpit and a rope mesh and there are places to sit for spectators and resting yompers. Young and old leave the lost castle with big smiles – it is fun, fun, somewhere to lose yourself in a whizz of excitement.
Just in the shadow of the lost castle, you can also find somewhere to buy food and drinks. into the woods has outdoor tables and stumps for chairs and here you can buy hot and cold snacks and drinks, including soup and sandwiches. There are also loos here. A good place to water and feed the adventure players or to sit with your four-legged ones* while you wait for the adventurers to return.
*We are sorry but although dogs (on leads) are very welcome at Lowther, they are not allowed on the lost castle – for obvious safety reasons.
Lows and highs
One of the most magical aspects of the lost castle is that it is set high above the ground, within the tree canopy. In the highest turrets, you can almost feel you are on the same level as the herons in the nearby treetop heronry. On the ground in the sandpit, you can feel close to the saplings that are trying to catch up with their giant neighbours.
As far as it can, the adventure playground at Lowther fits in with the natural world around it. You really do feel it is an imagined place, lost deep in the woods.