Case studies

Copthill School Fort


GORILLA role summary:

Back in March 2015, we were asked by Burghley Estate, to assist a local forest school with the design and build of a Fort. Burghley House was felling a load of larch trees as part of their Capability Brown reinstatement, so were happy to provide the wood FOC to the local school.

The Burghley Estate, which hosts the Rat Race Dirty Weekend, had a surplus of larch which it wanted to donate to the school providing it could be made use of, and Gorilla UK was asked to devise a project that would suit a school of 300 pupils, all under 11, with its own highly regarded Forest School and emphasis on outdoor learning.

Gorilla’s team of technicians and engineers devised several ways of using this considerable amount wood, before settling on plans for a large frontier-style wooden fort, with two raised towers, two raised battlements and a canopied area at the back. Measuring 11m x 11m and standing over 2m tall, Gorilla used more than 150 rough-hewn larch trunks to build the imposing palisade. The fort now stands atop a hillock in the school’s grounds and has proven to be a huge hit with the pupils.

Timescales involved: 8 weeks

  • 1-week design and choosing the lengths of birch from Burghley estate
  • 2-week installation

Result / Outcome:

Highly successful and well-used school fort.


Jonathan Teesdale, Copthill’s headmaster was delighted with the facility, saying, “Gorilla has designed and made a fabulous play facility for the children. It is completely unique and appropriate to Copthill School and has been a great addition to our outdoor area. It has totally captured the children’s imagination. They love using it!”

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