A NEW £230,000 adventure play area has been officially opened at Upton Country Park.

Hundreds of youngsters have already enjoyed the play area, but it was only officially opened at a special ceremony by Poole Mayor Cllr Marion Le Poidevin.

Bournemouth Christchurch and Poole (BCP) Council says the park was made possible thanks to a successful Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) funding application submitted by the Friends of Upton Country Park.

A BCP Council spokesman said: "The play areas provide a unique, free experience for visitors, stimulating creative fun with a strong focus on natural, heritage and environmental themes.

"Catering for a wide range of ages and abilities, the bespoke equipment is designed to be challenging and educational.

Starting outside the education centre in the heart of the country park the natural timber play features meander down through the grass towards the woodlands bordering the shoreline meadows."

It is hoped the new play area, which was designed for children of all ages, will attract more people to Upton Country Park.

The CIL is a locally set charge which can be applied to new development to help fund infrastructure projects required to accommodate growth, says the council.

CIL can be used to fund a wide range of projects, including green infrastructure/open space and public realm improvements.

Total funding for the adventure play project at Upton Country Park was £230,000, made up of £192,000 CIL, plus a £38,000 section 106 planning obligation payment.

The play area, which boasts disabled access, is part of wider plans to enhance the grounds and house.

Aileen Shackell Landscape Design drew up the proposals on behalf of BCP Council.

Speaking after plans were submitted, the design company said: "The addition of such a good play space with a real ‘wow factor’ should markedly increase the number of repeat visits, as well as increase the dwell time on the site, by adding to the very wide range of what is already on offer."