The Anderton Boat Lift is celebrating a 10% rise in visitor footfall by upgrading its play area with a new £50,000 bespoke adventure area that cleverly integrates elements of the distinctive waterway landmark into the design.
The playground, which will open in June, will be the starting point for a new Anderton Nature Park walk.
Created by Norfolk company Flights of Fantasy Creative Play Ltd, it will incorporate key elements of the Northwich attraction, such as the lift itself, a bridge, control house and mooring area and cleverly uses blue surfacing to suggest water.
Russell Bowlby, director of Flights of Fantasy Creative Play, said: “I think children are going to absolutely love this new play area. There is plenty to do – sliding, climbing, balancing and it has been designed with different routes so that children enjoy discovery through play. Located at the base of the lift, children can see how the play area picks up features of the Lift such as the boathouse, narrowboat and the suggestion of water. In turn, we hope this will lead to questions and interest in the Lift from this young audience.”
The trail into the Anderton Nature Park, signposted from the play area is an important element of this new project and it is hoped that it will encourage families who want to explore the area to take the first step. The trail will be fully sign-posted and is designed to encourage children to enjoy the varied plants and wildlife of the nearby Anderton Nature Park.
Timothy Turner, General Manager, Anderton Boat Lift, added: “I am delighted that the Anderton Boat Lift is attracting more visitors. We have worked hard to anticipate what our visitors want and this new play area is a key part of improvements to the site this year.
"What’s more, from this year, the Lift is open every weekend, even out of season, making it a fantastic additional resource for the local community as well as visitors from further afield.
“We want families to love the Anderton Boat Lift as much as we do.
"We know they like free entry to the site, including free access to the interactive exhibition, play area, Coffee Shop and gift shop. To enhance this experience, many of our year-round programme of activities, like the upcoming Viking Weekend, are also completely free.
"The Lift only charges for its boat trips through the spectacular Lift and along the River Weaver and events such as its popular beer festival and musical fireworks.”
The Anderton Boat Lift is owned by the Canal and River Trust and was restored in 2002 after a £7 million restoration made possible due to a substantial grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund. Earlier this year, the Anderton Boat Lift was awarded VisitEngland’s ‘Best Told Story’ accolade. This highly prestigious award recognises the unique story -telling experience that the lift’s staff gives its 120,000 plus visitors.