A NEW woodland park featuring treetop fortresses, slides, dens and balancing logs, has been built thanks to a £500,000 investment.

The outdoor play area in the grounds of Heaton Park, has been designed to give children the opportunity to play and make friends as well as learn and engage with nature.

Members of the public helped name the park, Lakeside Adventure, via a public vote on the Heaton Park and Hall Facebook page. The name has been carved into a wooden chair.

Situated in the south of the 600-acre site, the woodland play area is now officially open to families.

Cllr Luthfur Rahman, Manchester City Council's executive member for skills, culture and leisure, said: “Children love to be imaginative as well as active and this play area will fuel their curiosity, allowing them to happily explore and learn about the natural world, all within an attractive and safe environment at Heaton Park.

“Outdoor play helps our children to learn, develop new skills and make new friends, which is essential for their physical and mental wellbeing. This is why we’ve invested in Lakeside Adventure, which will be at the heart of countless great family trips out to one of the UK’s greatest parks in the future."

Pupils from nearby Bowker Vale Primary School, in Middleton Road, helped to build a wobbly bridge in the park, and also designed a poster to be displayed. They joined the Lord Mayor of Manchester, Cllr Abid Latif Chohan, for a special opening ceremony on Monday, July 15.

Plans for the £500,000 park, which features in-ground trampolines, swings and has wheelchair access, were unveiled in July last year. The play area, for children of all ages, was originally set to open in Spring 2019 but was "slightly delayed."

The project has been funded through the Clean City scheme and designed by award-winning landscape architects Davies White Ltd, with advice from Tim Gill, an independent expert on risk in play, who has previously worked on the London Olympic Park.

All equipment in the new play area was independently inspected by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) prior to opening day.