Where was your favourite childhood playground?

gibbsy

Moderator
Inspired by a recent post which reminded me of my childhood days in the Welsh Valleys I wonder where your favourite playground or play places were. I love a bit of nostalgia me.

When I was a kid there were very few safe places to play down in the valley where you could get away from the noise and grim of the coal mines so we all had to take to the mountains. As a very large gang of children we would often climb the mountain above the town to a place known as the 'rocking stone'

Here we had all the mountain top to play on. A short walk would take us to look at the coal waste being tipped on the mountain side above the neighbouring valley and the village of Aberfan. Little did we know that that waste would be ingrained on the psyche of the people that lived in Wales.

Another popular place was 'the targets' on the opposite mountain. As the name suggests it was a firing range built by the Americans prior to D-Day. We would dig in the banking looking for spent bullets and even found some live ones lost in the heather around the firing platforms. Good citizens as we were we'd march to the police station and hand them in. Then have a bollocking for picking them up.

The range was actually on land that my father's uncle used to farm, Gelli-Wrgan. Not all that lived in the valleys were miners. My father and mother loved the place so much, it was where they did their courting, that their ashes have been scattered there.

51362832.DSCF0005.jpg

Gelli-Wrgan

But our favourite place was the beech wood just to the north of the town. Untouched by the mines it was a fantastic place to play in summer or winter. Then in 1962 it was bulldozed to make way for a council estate and nobody lifted a finger. About a quarter of the wood is now left and thankfully protected by the council.

23101209.VictoriaPark018readyweb.jpg
23101209.VictoriaPark018readyweb.jpg
 

mjn

Distinguished Member
“The jungle”

Basically waste ground with trees perfect for climbing, enough space to race BMX bikes, stones / rocks to build shelters, etc.

I checked it out a few years ago when visiting my parents and it has all been concreted over and houses built :(
 
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rancidpunk

In Memoriam
“The jungle”

Basically waste ground with trees perfect for climbing, enough space to race BMX bikes, stones / rocks to build shelters, etc.

I checked it out a few years ago when visiting my parents and it has all been concreted over and houses built :)

Sounds exactly like what we called 'the dump', over the back of our local park. All gone now too.
We also had 'monkey island' a little stretch of water with a rope swing for summer.
 

mikes48

Distinguished Member
I lived on RAF camps from birth to leaving home at about 18 so I was comfortable with wandering about on airfields, and in those days - 1950s mostly - it was never a problem.

Like @gibbsy we had shooting ranges to play on, many happy hours sifting through the sand for fired bullets, although I don't remember what we ever did with them. Never found any live ones though :eek:.

Earlier than that, when I was about 7 or 8, they'd have security exercises on the camp every now and then, and my Dad would sometimes sneak home for a cuppa and I could play with his Sten gun - no bullets obviously. Better than my toy pop-gun, with its tethered cork on a string :laugh:.

The best was summer evenings and weekends on the airfield, when I'd occasionally sneak into parked Lancasters (they weren't usually locked) and try out all the crew positions, play with the throttle and pitch levers, and clamber past the Elsan into the rear turret, with its two sets of sliding doors. Don't remember seeing any machine guns though :(.

I can still remember the smell of the interior - metal, oil, hydraulic fluid etc.

Those were the days :).
 

MrFraggle

Distinguished Member
We were fortunate that in the children's home I lived in in Harrow, Harrow View to be precise, now gone and flats built, had large grounds which had two massive Oak trees that were great for climbing and building a tree house.
 

Liquid101

Distinguished Member
I grew up in a seaside town in Somerset.

We were surrounded by woods, hills, rivers and rugged coastline.

The usual den building, BMX track building, fire starting etc.

Eventually we ventured into urban exploration - we had some great places for this, including a closed Olympic sized swimming pool which was built in the 30's.

By the time I was a teenager - we'd moved on to regular visits to the local Butlins. Which for a teenage boy was like fishing in a barrel :D
 

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