Percussion and Play Project

Enhanced play in Bute Park!

Through this project our team selected new equipment that gives visitors different experiences in nature that are inclusive, interactive and increase play opportunities in Bute Park.

We have installed:
• Two different sized bable drums
• Hanging chimes
• A vertical wooden xylophone
• A handmade playable sculpture
• Accessible installation bays for the percussion equipment
• Ten magnifying glass post
• A new Animal Activities Trail
• A new map board showing the locations of activities in Bute Park for the young-at-heart

As our visitors will know, Bute Park does not have a playground in the traditional sense, but we also have a woodland balance trail, numerous sculptures as well as a wealth of natural play opportunities.
The majority of the new installations are located near the existing woodland balance trail through the area known as “Old Man’s Woods” and allow visitors to go on a musical journey exploring sounds and textures.
Throughout the Woodland Balance Trail we invite you to take inspiration from nature and “jump like a grasshopper” or “buzz like a bee” as you move between the equipment.

Your donation

The Percussion and Play project was selected as park user feedback suggested play opportunities within Bute Park could be enhanced.
This project funded five pieces of interactive accessible musical and percussion play equipment plus additional items.

• Two Bable Drums
Babel Drums are a part of the family of percussion instruments that consists of Hand pans, Hank, Tank, and Tongue Drums.
The small Babel Drum is tuned to a C major pentatonic scale with 6 notes, producing a pure tone that is warm and has plenty of clarity to it.
The large stainless steel tongue drum can create beautiful melodies with remarkably long sustain. This drum has an eight-note layout in G-Major, the sound is amazing.

These drums are sensory-rich and can be played with the hands and fingers. These drums are perfect for using for music therapy and relaxation.
No previous drumming experience is required to play a Babel Drum and both children and adults will enjoy improvising with the mesmerizing sounds they produce. The mellow tones are never brassy or too loud – perfect for musical exploration in the fresh air.

• Spiral Scraper
Our team selected a musical scraper with a highly sculptural hand-built design which is both musically and visually appealing.
The different length bars can be tapped or scraped to produce a range of tones which rise in pitch towards the centre of the sculpture.
This sculpture will be accessible from both sides and playable with beaters or small sticks that you might find in the park.

• Tuned Chimes
A set of 7 individually tuned chimes mounted in a wooden frame produce bright, sustained tones.
This sculpture can be played from both sides to encourage paired playing.
It is playable with beaters or small sticks that you might find in the park.

• Vertical Xylophone
To complement the metal sculpture and the tuned chines we plan to install an 8 note xylophone made from extremely durable FSC certified hardwood.
The hardwood keys produce a rich, earthy tone when tapped with a beater. These instruments are ideal for playing simple chords and melodies. They produce warm, marimba-like tones and are playable from both sides.
• Magnifying Glass Posts
We have added to our educational play opportunities by installing ten magnifying glass posts by the picnic benches near the cafes in the park.
These “mag posts” are a fun way for people to explore the natural world close-up and encourage experimentation to stimulate discovery of science through play.



The innovative Bute Park Improvement Project Donation Scheme is funded by generous direct visitor donations, proceeds from sales at some Bute Park refreshment outlets, and discretionary donations made when certain park-based event tickets are purchased.

The Percussion and Play project was selected as park user feedback suggested play opportunities within Bute Park could be enhanced.

Your donation will add variety and create spaces that have sensory play opportunities for all.

These new additions will bring learning and fun for visitors regardless of their age or ability.


The majority of the new percussion and play equipment has been installed along the path that runs through Old Man’s Wood from Blackfriars Friary to the Woodland Balance Trail.