Work starts on park’s new play area

How Fort Douglas's Sky Maze will look once it is finished. Buccleuch is investing �285,000 in the new facility, work on which began last week. The design harks back to the park's original playground area.
How Fort Douglas's Sky Maze will look once it is finished. Buccleuch is investing �285,000 in the new facility, work on which began last week. The design harks back to the park's original playground area.

Work has begun on a new £285,000 facility for Dalkeith Country Park, which aims to appeal to youngsters and the young at heart alike.

The new Sky Maze features a raised network of twisting and turning walkways, treehouses, ramps, rope bridges and slides and has been inspired by the park’s original playground which was renowned for its scope for adventure and sheer height.

With its swinging jungle bridge, invisible floor, scramble net and two five-metre ‘high slides’, the park’s owners are hoping to recreate that exciting outdoor fun for a new generation.

And with the new equipment open to ages five and over, locals and visitors can introduce their little ones, grandchildren, nieces and nephews while reliving their own childhood adventures at Dalkeith.

Remko Plooij, the park’s commercial director, said: “We want the new Sky Maze to evoke a sense of nostalgia in those who fondly remember the original Dalkeith Country Park playground, as well as ensuring everyone enjoys plenty of fun and adventure high up in the trees.

“And we’re not just welcoming kids to have all the fun when the Sky Maze is ready next year – it will be suitable for adults as well as pushchairs, buggies and wheelchairs. So anyone who remembers the playground of days gone by can come along and enjoy the fun with the little ones in their own families.”

This latest investment takes the total spend on Fort Douglas adventure park to more than £500,000 since its opening, and comes just months after a new structure inspired by the park’s historic orangerie – housing exciting zip wires – opened to the public.

The developments will be brought to life by Dalkeith Country Park’s owner, Buccleuch, and playground specialists Capco which also worked on the last expansion of the playground.

Fort Douglas was originally created as part of Buccleuch’s £8.9million investment, which also included the redevelopment of the 18th century stables and courtyard.