Monday, 22 February 2016

Bretton Skatepark

Bretton Skatepark was definitely the most difficult skatepark in Peterborough to find.  I couldn't find it on Google Earth, I couldn't find it listed anywhere else and for a large chunk on Saturday I didn't think I would find it at all.  I drove around the Bretton part of Peterborough looking for any of the usual hints that there might be a Skatepark nearby but found nothing.

Eventually I found myself behind a pub that looked like it would do well as a location in post apocalyptic zombie film.  In a rubbish-strewn car park I took my chances and asked some locals who were loading their spawn into a car if they knew where Bretton Skatepark was.  At first they said they had no idea, and the reaction to the very possibility of a skatepark being a 'thing' at all seemed to get them a little agitated.  They asked exactly what I was looking for and I had to break it right down for them. I told them I was looking for a patch of concrete with some slopes on it.  Wow.

The female component of the couple had some sort of epiphany and told me that yes, there is such a place as Bretton Skatepark.  Not be be outdone the bloke decided he did know what I was talking about.  He gave me some directions so complex and convoluted I nodded politely along, made no effort to commit anything to memory.  After what seemed like an age I thanked the couple earnestly for their help, and drove away at a speed I thought should be fast enough for them not to catch up with me and find out I was ignoring their advice.

I bore you with a detailed account of the next half an hour or so, but it ended with driving down a mud track through some trees and finding myself in the car park for Peterborough rugby club.  I have no idea if there's more than one rugby club in Peterborough, but this one had television cameras so it must be a fairly big deal.

I decided to continue the search on foot and parked up the car outside the rugby club changing rooms.  I know they were the changing rooms because the smell of Lynx deodorant was strong enough to knock small birds out of the air.  While having a look at something called Peterborough Water Park, which was like a big empty puddle with signs informing all that nappies must be worn, I spotted the first sign that Bretton Skatepark might actually exist.  A protrusion of graffiti covered concrete.  A very soggy trudge across a municipal playing field I found it.  The legends were true, there IS a Skatepark in Bretton.

The layout at Bretton Skatepark is pretty cool.  There's a partial bowl and one end, a decent size bit of glass smooth concrete, a grind box and a taco shell at the other end.  Beside the main part of the bowl there's a quarter pipe with a spine connecting it to the main bowl.  The end of this quarter pipe that connects to the wall of the main bowl is sculpted in a roughly bowl type fashion.  Each sculpted 'scoop' leads up to the platform around the back wall on one side, and another platform where the bowl ends before the flat bit of the park starts.  Phew, now that's a hello of a think to explain.  You're far better just looking at the photos and videos below.

Sadly I didn't skate Bretton Skatepark because the rain was persisting it down.  My daughter had a rare old time on her scooter though.  Is she more hardcore than me?  Probably.

One slightly odd quirk of Bretton Skatepark is that it's partially under some trees.  I visited at the tail end of winter so I'd expect a few leaves in the bowl, but trees drop crap all year round.  I can see why some kids hide brooms and other cleaning tools in the shrubberies near skateparks.

On the whole Bretton is a small, but nicely diverse little skatepark.  I'm sure there's parking nearer than where I parked.  If you're reading this and you're local feel free to point out where you're supposed to park for Bretton Skatepark in the comments section below.

I'm looking forward to hitting Bretton Skatepark when the weather is better and the ground is dry.  I skate all year round, but heavy rain and tree debris made Bretton a 'no go' for me today.

Bretton Skatepark Photos

Bretton Skatepark Videos

Bretton Skatepark Maps

Peterborough Ontario Skatepark

Clearly Peterborough Ontario skatepark isn't in Peterborough, Cambridgeshire (UK).  I'm mentioning it because it comes up a whole lot when searching for 'Peterborough Skatepark'.

If you've landed on this blog looking for the Canadian Peterborough Skatepark you can find more details here -

It's a cool looking park though, so here's some vids!

Hampton Skatepark

YES!  A bowl!  After the kickass time I had at Werrington skatepark I was itching to find another bowl to have a carve in.  Yet again I couldn't find any information on this skatepark other than a vague hint that it might exist.  I headed into Hampton, which is a bewildering experience in itself and headed for anywhere that looked like it might be a big enough space to host a big skatepark.

After parking in the nearby community centre myself and my daughter trudged across the boggy field to take a closer look at what would be our second bowl of the weekend.  There was zero chance we'd actually get to skate, it was pissing it down with rain.

From what I gather Hampton skatepark is almost brand new and it looks like a ton of thought has gone into it.  There is a huge variety of fun ramps and trans through out the main plateau of the park.  There are also some decent size wide open spaces, something that's really useful for new skaters to use to find their feet.  The real star of Hampton Skatepark, and the biggest part of the reason I hunted down this skatepark was the kidney bowl.  So we carefully walked to the far end of the park where I assumed the bowl was.

Unfortunately it wasn't only the rain that stopped us from skating at Hampton.  The bowl was in a condition that was far from skateable.  Partly possibly due to a drainage issue that is a teething issue of some new skateparks, but also due to the large amount of rubbish that was filling the deeper part of the bowl.  Including a large mattress.

I know tons of hard work goes into getting skateparks built so I'm not going to dwell on the negative aspects of Hampton skatepark.  The rest of the park was pristine so I'm going to very optimistically hope that some kids threw the mattress into the bowl in an attempt to soak up the water.  But as for the rest of the trash, well who knows.

When I go back to Peterborough in a few month's time I'm going to head straight for Hampton skatepark.  If the ground is dry and the bowl is empty it's going to be amazing!

Hampton Skatepark Photos

If you have never visited Hampton skatepark please ignore the state of the bowl in these photos, I'm sure it's all been fixed up and is skate-able by now.

Hampton Skatepark videos

(also has some nice footage of Bretton skatepark)

Hampton Skatepark Map

Hampton Skatepark is currently incorrectly labelled as 'Bretton skatepark' on Google Maps. I've suggested they correct it. Watch this space.


This Instagram photo may or may not explain the mattress:

Eye Skatepark

Okay, so I know that Eye skatepark isn't technically right inside Peterborough, but it's very close indeed.  I also really wanted to visit Eye skatepark because when searching for every other Peterborough Skatepark Eye was the only Skatepark Google Maps would show me.  This is yet another reason I spent all weekend driving around Peterborough manually adding all the skateparks to Google Maps.  At least now when you search for 'skateparks in Peterborough' the results show more than just Eye Skatepark.

I was pretty amazed when I arrived in the community centre car park in the village of Eye and looked down the playing field / hill to the skatepark.  It's HUGE!  What was equally amazing was how empty the park was.  I was the only person there when I arrived.  I was visiting these parks before lunchtime, so I realise that might be a contributing factor, but back home in Suffolk most skateparks are full to bursting by lunchtime.  Mostly scooters...

Eye skatepark is made up of metal ramps, but not the rattle and clattle type.  These are sold, smooth ramps.  The (amazing) half pipe had a similar feel to skating a wooden ramp.  It was gorgeous, but because most of experience is on concrete ramps it took a little while to stop squealing each time my wheels slipped.

The central part of Eye Skatepark is full of a series of large funboxes, with ramps on one side and trans on the other.  There's also an assortment of rails and all kinds of other things bolted on the side.  There's also a sort of fake metal wall at one end of the the park that looks fun.

The concrete surface of Eye Skatepark is smooth enough, but looks a little tired.  I had no complaints, but I recommend you watch where your wheels go as there are some decent size gaps between the 'plates' of concrete.  Not enough to skittle you off your board, but well worth spotting before you roll over them.

My visit was cut short by a couple of adults who arrived at the skatepark with their (very) young scooter kids.  This wouldn't have stopped me normally but the adults sat right in the middle of the central ramp in the park, and I wasn't in the mood to politely point out that they were both putting themselves in danger and making half the park unridable.

On the whole Eye skatepark is great.  I'm really looking forward to getting back on that huge half pipe.

Eye Skatepark Photos

Eye Skatepark Videos

Eye Skatepark Map

Sunday, 21 February 2016

Welland Skatepark

Well what an interesting place.  I can see that at some point someone has tried really hard with Welland Skatepark in Peterborough.  There are some clattering old metal ramps, including a nice wide quarter pipe ramp and a metal fun box.  The fun box makes a hell of a noise as you roll over it, and the half pipe has a gap of an inch or so between the ground and the start of the ramp.

Along the whole edge of Welland skatepark is a really long trans with coping.  It's about waist height and not entirely uniform along it's length, but in an interesting kind of way.

The other side of Welland Skatepark has, er, I'm not sure how to describe it really.  It looks like someone has tried to create a tropical island out of concrete.  This island is about five metres long and a rough tear shape, being about four metres at its widest point, tapering down to a nicely sculpted point.  There's a wide channel (sea?) behind it, creating a gap between the island and a long curved gentle bank with a gentle slope and a flat top.  I'm not sure what the designers were going for, but it's all more interesting than your standard trans and ramps.  But there's just one problem.

Welland Skatepark is one of those curious skateparks were little though appears to have been given to providing a smooth surface to skate on.  The surface at Welland Skatepark is like a knackered old all weather tennis court.  I tentatively tried rolling off the metal funbox and as soon as my wheels hit the craggy tarmac they stopped rolling.

Welland Skatepark could be really good fun if you're into BMX.  Scooter wheels might just about cope with the surface of the skatepark.  If you're into skateboards then quite honestly I wouldn't bother going to Welland Skatepark.  Even if you had softer wheels your skateboard would likely vibrate so much you'd loose your fillings.

Welland Skatepark Photos

If you're on a skateboard I wouldn't recommend trying this ramp, until you don't value your front teeth

Welland Skatepark Video

I've not found any yet.

Welland Skatepark Map

Oundle Road Skatepark

Well there's not much to report here.  I parked up near Oundle Road Skatepark but half way walking towards the skatepark I gave up and went back to my car.  Oundle Road Skatepark is a collection of four low metal transition ramps and a small funbox.  The surface appears to be whatever was on the ground long before anyone thought of putting a skatepark there.

I find it difficult to say any skatepark is rubbish.  Partly because skateparks in any form only exist thanks to the efforts of people who work really hard to make skate facilities a reality.  I also try not to colour my reviews of skateparks by my own subjective opinion.  My skater skillset is pretty minimal, so even if I can't get much out of places like Oundle Road Skatepark I'm sure there are plenty of people who do.  That being said the four of five scooter kids who were at this skatepark weren't actually skating it.  They just sat on the coping staring out at the middle distance, not doing much of anything.

One good thing about clattery old metal skate ramps like this is that they're often replaced by lovely concrete skateparks.

I'm afraid I didn't even bother taking photos.

Oundle Road Skatepark Videos

From the looks of this old video there used to be a decent looking metal quarter pipe at Oundle Road Skatepark, I'm not sure it's there any more.

Oundle Road Skatepark Map

Stanground Skatepark

Stanground Skatepark in Peterborough is nuts.  Seriously, I have never seen so many transitions crammed into such a small area.  It's Brilliant!  There's trans with coping, trans without coping, flat ramps, everything.

If you look at these photos you might think Stanground Skatepark looks a bit crammed, a bit 'busy'.  I guess it is, but it works really well.  I'm not the greatest at dropping in, but was happy enough dropping in on the trans that are only a couple of feet high at one of the park and finding my way from one end of the skatepark to the other.

Stanground Skatepark would be the perfect place to learn to pump trans.  With even moderate pumping you can easily make yourself from one end of the skatepark to the other.  And what's more you can do it in quite a linear way.  No need for mad snaking and getting in other people's way here.

In addition to the main 'path' through Stanground Skatepark there's a nice wide quarter pipe and a three quarters bowl.  It's a bit like the main route through the Skatepark is a corridor, with different skating rooms leading off it from either wide.

Stanground Statepark is also the only skatepark I've ever been to (so far) that has the glass-smooth concrete of the main Skatepark surface leading up to the entrance.  I used this to get up a decent speed to pump myself up into the main body of the park, before increasing speed leading up to the high half pipe size trans at the far end of the park.  I'm not sure I'm explaining this very well, but just take from what I'm saying that it's a nice touch.  One of many at Stanground Skatepark.

Sadly it was a bit too wet and muddy the day I visited, but the local scooter kids I spoke to said Stanground Skatepark dries out really quickly compared to other places.

I visited at 11am on a Sunday morning and had the place to myself for a bit.  The couple of scooter kids who turned up when I'd been skating for a bit were polite, understood skatepark etiquette and told me the place usually gets busy around 1pm on Sundays.

Stanground Skatepark is my favourite place to skate, second only to Werrington Skatepark.

Stanground Skatepark Photos

Stanground Skatepark Videos

Stanground Skatepark Map