Design Guide for Barefoot Parks

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Balancing equipment


  Local regulations and common standards for playgrounds may also be applicable to barefoot trails. They require fall protection for walking, climbing or balancing above a defined height, e.g. more than 60 cm (2 ft.) in the EU. Stations of barefoot trails will usually stay below this limit. Otherwise use a handrail and/or a fall-protecting underlayment like sand or fine round gravel!  
    enlargeable thumbnails:
Tree trunks The trunk must be prevented from rolling, perhaps by placing it in a bed of gravel or mounting it on crossbars. This also protects the wood from too much moisture and retards decay.

Protruding knobs must be removed carefully. The bark will peel off after a while. Since wet wood tends to become slippery, it may be favorable to let people walk through a bed of sand before they step on the trunk.

mittenw_stamm.jpg (97132 Byte)
  Rising balancing beams need strong anchoring. In this case, a rough surface can increase safety. anstieg.jpg (68161 Byte) schlange.jpg (105601 Byte)
A knobby fir trunk from the edge of the wood provides some massage to the feet. A handrail may prevent stumbling.
schi_baumstamm.jpg (26370 Byte) schi_baumstamm2.jpg (51750 Byte)
  A few steps help to enter a thick oak tree trunk. maikammer_baumstamm.jpg (84423 Byte)
  Combination of tree trunks and stockage is favored by visitors. kombi_balance.jpg (99309 Byte)
  The surrounding sand bed minimizes risk of injury. A fall-protective material is required by European Standard for items exceeding a height of 60 cm. paslisaden.jpg (66594 Byte)
  Steps and zigzag.... so_balken.jpg (65249 Byte) oetis_balance.jpg (82258 Byte)
  Crossing the tree trunks requires good fixation to prevent them from rolling. cre_staemme.jpg (65692 Byte)
Two parallel trunks.
parallel.jpg (421444 Byte)
Indian ladder Steps are cut in an ascending tree trunk, which must be fixed against rolling. nienh_indianerleiter.jpg (62688 Byte) spalt_indianerleiter.jpg (86433 Byte)
  A combined balancing section with ascent and descent is lots of fun. dudenh_grat.jpg (99726 Byte)
Stem with branches Part of the branches may be left to simulate some jungle experience. Children tend to hop on the branches, which are at risk to break, if not thick enough.

Tree trunks may be carved by artists.

krokodil.jpg (89752 Byte)
  For security reasons, the ends of the branches must be rounded. krokodil2.jpg (101198 Byte)
  Trees with different shapes can be included. baum_wasser.jpg (103895 Byte)
Boulders Preferably typical stones from the surrounding region are used. To prevent slipping, the surface should be rough, but not sharp-edged. Embedding by half their diameter prevents boulders from rolling. pz_findlinge2.jpg (91914 Byte) maikammer_steine.jpg (64285 Byte) hech_steine.jpg (147687 Byte)
Tree trunk pieces Must be embedded by half their length as well. Care for a finish to smoothen the edges! spalt_holzscheiben.jpg (121936 Byte)
Rows of pickets spalt_stammstuecke.jpg (121566 Byte)The smaller the surface, the more demanding the balancing act is. Keep distance short enough to avoid danger! orb_palis.jpg (59740 Byte) oetis_pfloecke.jpg (110287 Byte)
The larger format requires handrails.
mittenw_hindernis.jpg (90194 Byte)
Stilt walk The stationary stilts need a solid fixation in the ground. dornst_ve.jpg (51179 Byte) dornst_stelzen.jpg (113839 Byte)
Wobbling board This board is mounted on two strong spiral springs and may force jumping off before the end. Therefore it should be installed over a fall-protecting ground. so_federbrett.jpg (122790 Byte)
Tightrope walking A strong fixation to the ground maintains the tension of the rope. seiltanz.jpg (130222 Byte)
A lot more ideas....

baumstufen.jpg (116124 Byte) palisbalance.jpg (540303 Byte) stufenstamm.jpg (100909 Byte)

so_balance.jpg (130280 Byte)

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