The best bark for play areas is made from the soft outer layer of trees providing a soft, cushioned surface recommended for play areas. This provides a loose impact-absorbing surface (LIAS) which can be used in all play areas, including under play equipment, slides and climbing frames.
RoSPA recommends filling a play area 300MM deep if it is for public use, or 150MM for domestic use.

Woodgrow stocks Melcourt PlayBark®, made from British Pine Bark from the soft outer layer of trees which is stripped, harvested, and treated. It is dark brown in colour and softer in texture than wood-based chips. This is a granular bark and once laid, the bottom 200mm of a 300mm layer of granular bark tends to naturally adhere together, to form a firm, yet yielding free drainage base. The top 50-100mm surface layer naturally remains loose and does not matt tightly. The upper surface “gives” easily under initial impact whilst the base layer tends to cushion the residual impact of any fall.
As the upper surface tends to wear, bark pieces of the lower layer will naturally become dislodged, to renew and maintain the surface layer. Once laid, the performance of granular particles contributes to the ability of the surface to be practically self-levelling when being played on. In areas of particularly high play activity weekly levelling with a rake is recommended.
In practice, the surface will gradually wear down depending on use. As LIAS have high impact absorbency resulting from the natural ability of the surface to “move” it is important to have readily available additional bark available to top up to the original level to ensure that the desired critical fall height rating is maintained.
We recommend Melcourt PlayBark® for play areas that receive medium to heavy foot traffic and above all require a soft, cushioned surface. Bark mulch can be applied directly to the soil without the need for a membrane. However, for constructing a play area or path, a weed-proof membrane is recommended.
This bark has been independently tested in accordance with the requirements of BS EN 1176, at depths of 300mm, 200mm and 100mm giving critical fall heights of 6.01metres, 3.82 metres and 1.33 metres respectively. The nominal particle size of this pre-bagged bark is 10-40mm with less than 5% wood content by volume, and depending on footfall, would be expected to last between 3-5years. After this time PlayBark® can be re-cycled to use as general garden bark mulch.

Melcourt PlayBark® can be supplied in 60L bags for smaller areas, or as a cost-effective loose tip for larger quantities. Please call us on 01332 517600 for more information.


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