Bradley Stoke’s new concrete skate park, commissioned by the town council at a cost approaching £300,000, is now available for use by members of the public following a low profile “soft opening” on Monday 14th March.
Floodlights, allowing year-round use of the facility up to its official closing time of 9.30pm, are due to be installed over the next few weeks, along with a converted shipping container that will be used as a social space when a youth worker is present at the site.
Landscaping of the area around the park will be ongoing and fit in with the planting seasons as appropriate.
An official opening event with ribbon cutting, pro-rider demos, ‘have a go’ sessions and an informal ‘jam’ is being planned for Saturday 23rd April.
The new park has proved popular with local users in its first few weeks and has also attracted attention from enthusiasts across the wider Bristol area, with several videos being posted on social media channels showing expert riders putting it to the test.
Journal editor Stephen Horton visited the park in its second week of operation to find out how it was being received.
Scooter rider Liam, 12, said he hadn’t previously visited skate parks but had seen people having fun and was encouraged to join in by his friends. As a beginner, he prefers to use the park in the morning on the way to school, when it is less busy. “With fewer people around, I’m not as embarrassed when I fall off,” he added.
He currently restricts his activity to going up and down in the large bowl feature, “because my scooter isn’t the best”, and says he will visit the park “whenever I have spare time”.
Another user, Sam, 13, was testing out the park on a new BMX bike, having “upgraded” from a scooter the day before. He said he liked the way the new park is set out, describing it as being “much better than the old one”, where he had spent a lot of his time.
“Of all the skate parks I know, this is definitely the best,” he said, adding that he was familiar with parks in Horfield, Patchway and Filton.
He added that he is currently learning tricks from some of the more experienced BMX riders at the park.
For BMX rider James, one of the group of local young people who were involved in the development of the new park, it is “just great – so much better than I was expecting”, so much so that he had “taken the first couple of days off college to ride it”.
He describes the vertical wall feature as being “a good challenge”, while the volcano in the centre of the main bowl is “a little iffy” because of its size. The box jump, “ideal for back flips”, is one of his favourite features.
Martin, 22, from Eastville, had heard about the new park “on the grapevine”, and has already made several visits by bus. As an experienced skateboarder, the large size of the Bradley Stoke park is a big attraction for him. He is fond of performing ‘grinds’ along the edges of the main bowl and other features in the park, but adds that the number of scooter riders milling around at busy times can limit the number of runs he can make.
The town council’s youth participation worker Graham Baker said he is amazed at the wide age range of users he has seen at the park – from Reception age children calling in with their scooters on the way to the nearby school to a 50-year-old man who spent several hours skateboarding one morning during the park’s opening week.
He is pleased to see that there is a more even distribution of disciplines being practised (including inline skating) compared to what was seen at the old skate park, where scooting had been predominant.
Another positive development he has noticed is that some young people who had exhibited challenging behaviour after becoming bored with the old skate park are now re-engaging in skate park activity.
The new skate park is located within the grounds of Bradley Stoke Leisure Centre BS32 9BS. The town council has defined its opening hours as 8am to 9.30pm.
An Official Opening Event is planned for Saturday 23rd April 2016
Event sponsors and contributors include: Bradley Stoke Town Council, Wheelscape, Knightstone Housing, Crucial BMX, Fifty Fifty, Rock Solid and Shiner
Programme: Ribbon cutting, pro-rider demos, ‘have a go’ sessions and an informal ‘jam’
Further details will be made available on the Bradley Stoke Skatepark page on Facebook
This article originally appeared in the April 2016 edition of the Bradley Stoke Journal news magazine, delivered FREE, EVERY MONTH, to 9,500 homes in Bradley Stoke, Little Stoke and Stoke Lodge. Phone 01454 300 400 to enquire about advertising or leaflet insertion.
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