When we saw back in July that a brand new play area was coming to California Country Park near Wokingham we knew it was something we would have to keep an eye on. Judging by the play park at Dinton Pastures, Wokingham Borough Council seem to know what works well.
What an upgrade! Located right next to Jacksons café, its fully gated, spacious and broken up in two separate play sections, the strikingly colourful Sensory Garden and the impressive adventure trail at Wild Wood. The overall theme has a very natural element with the seating areas blending in with the surroundings.
The Sensory Garden appears to be designed for the slightly younger children and focuses on inclusive play. This sensory play area has a range of equipment suitable for most ages and abilities. What I did really like was the stunning walk through musical chime area and the elaboratively decorated silver ramp up to the wide slide.
This area also has a wonderfully bold coloured pirate ship with slide which is easy to navigate around.
The biggest hit with my 3 year old was the water play. Cleverly designed so that its more interactive for little hands. With dam like features to increase or slow down water flow and a large pumping tap enabling children to investigate and get creative (make sure you pack some wellies or waterproofs)
The Wild Wood woodland adventure play trail with a treehouse is a bit more challenging with deeper steps to climb and a higher tunnel slide. Set amongst the trees and with wood chip flooring, this area sits in the corner of the play park. It includes some fantastic wooden obstacle climbing apparatus, a climbing pyramid, some cute woodland creatures and a zip line.
In addition to these two areas, they’ve also installed some very inviting hammocks, a trampoline (suitable for wheelchairs) and a set of swings.
There is also the added bonus of the padding pool which is open in warmer months and operates on a booking system. This is in the park area but separately fenced off.
The park at California Country park is free but they are currently running a ticket system at peak times (weekends and school holidays 10-4pm) up until Monday 17th May. This allows for an allocated 1 hours play time. They are currently permitting 100 children in at any one time. They will then decide if the ticketed system needs to remain in place for social distancing and to avoid overcrowding. To book tickets, use the Dinton Pastures website:
There is also a lovely circular scooter and buggy friendly walk around Longmoor lake where you are able to feed the ducks and spot other wildlife. This is approximately 0.9 miles long. Alternatively you can also choose a more wooded walk which is slightly longer at 2.2 miles but wouldn’t be buggy friendly. There is a PDF document on the walking routes here:
A great addition is Jacksons Café. Located by the car park and the play park, it offers a delicious selection of freshly homemade food.
There are public toilets available which also have disabled access.
Parking wasn’t an issue with plenty of pay and display parking onsite charged at £1.65 per hour up to 4 hours or a flat rate of £6.60 for 4 hours and over.
Dogs are welcome but are not permitted in to the play area or padding pool area.