Learning through Iron Age play…

For the CAER Heritage Project, staff team, the relationship with the current residents of Caerau Hillfort and the surrounding area is just as important as its historic occupants. The immediate area, Church Road, is home not only to incredible history and archaeology but also an active and thriving community group, Unity. Our relationship with the group has gone from strength to strength with us spending every Wednesday this summer holiday working together on a very important aspect of the Hidden Hillfort project, the heritage themed playground.

Last week, we hired a minibus and visited two playgrounds which use their area’s history as inspiration for play. First stop was Ynysangharad Park which uses the industrial heritage of Pontypridd. Here the parents set up a picnic while the children played on swings, slides, roundabouts and in the digging pits inspired by the mines and industry that once thrived in the Welsh valleys. Just before leaving, we spent 10 minutes running around and taking photos of our favourite pieces of play equipment…

Our second visit was to St Fagans National Museum of History which is home to a playground designed by parents from Pencaerau based on the farming history of Wales. The natural resources and timber used was a big hit with the group and we wonder whether we can incorporate this into our playground. Finally we took a short walk up to Bryn Eyre Iron Age Farmstead to check out the shape of, and materials used in, Iron Age roundhouses. This was to see how we can merge the history and archaeology of Caerau with the modern playground.

We had so much fun learning through play and we are super excited to get started on designing our own #HiddenHillfort themed play area! Next we will be doing some den building and creative play in Caerau woodlands to get even more ideas before working with project artists and a professional playground designer!  

Kimberley Jones, August 2019