New play equipment is no pipe dream for Midlothian nursery

Oct 16, 2014

In most parts of the Lothians water pipes lurk deep below the ground, used to pump drinking water to tens of thousands of homes and businesses.

But pipes are now being put to a more novel and visible use as safe and accessible play equipment for young children. Around 50 children from babies up to the age of five who attend Milton Bridge Nursery near Penicuik are reaping the benefits.

Scottish Water has provided the nursery with two sections of pipes from the £130 million Glencorse Water Treatment Works. In a world first, pipes were produced on site at Glencorse during construction of the works and rolled directly into the ground.

Bill Elliot, Scottish Water’s Community Team Manager for Edinburgh and the Lothians, said:

"After completing work on the new treatment works, which since 2012 has been providing high quality drinking water to 450,000 customers across Edinburgh and parts of Midlothian, we were keen to find a way of giving something a little bit different back to the community.

"We need to get the water from our reservoirs in the Borders into the treatment works, and these are the kind of new pipes that were made and installed so the water could complete the final stage of its journey into the works, using the natural force of gravity. We have cut two small sections of surplus pipes, each about 2m each in length and over 1m in height, which we realised would make ideal tunnels for children to play safely in under the supervision of the nursery staff."

"We are proud to provide a service that the community depends on, even if it's sometimes at the back of mind. This is a great way to bring the service to life, and Milton Bridge Nursery were delighted to accept our offer, ensuring that the new treatment works provides additional benefits and a legacy for the local community."

The pipes were recently installed in the garden and playground at the nursery’s annex in nearby Auchendinny. They are held in place by a wooden structure created by David Watt, whose grandson attends the nursery. The nursery have plans to grow vegetables in the soil around the structure, and even adorn the pipes with artwork.

Nursery Manager Heather Campbell said:

"Milton Bridge Nursery would like to say a big thank you to Scottish Water for donating the large piping for our outdoor play area. These pipes will enable our children to experience a broad balance of learning experiences through investigative, imaginative and physical play from birth to five years. We are really looking forward to observing the children putting this project into practice. Many thanks again for providing us with these great resources."

On a visit to the nursery to see how much the children were enjoying the play area’s new feature, Chris Wallace, Scottish Water’s Director of Communications, said:

"Around 50 children from the local area attend Milton Bridge Nursery, so we could see this was a great way for Scottish Water to link up with an organisation at the centre of the local community. The new treatment works at Glencorse is a very impressive facility and something which communities throughout Edinburgh and parts of Midlothian are getting real benefits from. While the works is long since complete and has been designed to blend into the surrounding landscape, it’s important for us to maintain visibility in the local community and help create a positive environment for customers in the area. I was delighted to meet some of the staff and children at the nursery, and was really pleased to see how much they enjoyed this addition to the play area."

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