Keeping track of various UK park design plans, I end up going to a lot of new skateparks. There are plenty of great parks around now, but usually it’s a case of ‘worth hitting if you’re in the area.’ Only every so often do I see one that’s really worth travelling to – a destination in its own right.
Bartley Park in Totton (Southampton), built by Gravity, is one such park. It’s got pretty much everything you might want in a skatepark – a well-designed bowl, several linear rail and ledge set-ups, a nice flowy area, a jumpbox rhythm section, plus loads of other little nugs.
Bartley Park is split into defined sections. As you’ll see in the photos, areas between ramps are stepped down and surfaced in tarmac. I can only assume this keeps construction costs down but it also helps offer an obvious way of seeing the areas in use – so many people can ride simultaneously. Obviously, if you’re like Ben Wallace, you’ll be transferring over these tarmac areas anyway!
The bowl is the classic ‘cock and balls’ shape from above, with one bollock housing the deep end. The transitions are great, the lines are fairly simple but work perfectly and that extension had me grinning. Instead of pool coping stones, the builders have gone with regular metal coping above a nice row of checked tiles. I like how this looks but I prefer how it sounds – when you air it or carve just under the coping, you get a very satisfying rumble as your tyres buzz over the tiles. I wonder if this feature might get a bit weathered by pegs and trucks over time, but right now it’s a joy to ride.
All in all, Bartley Park is a rad skatepark and I tip my hat to the locals for smashing it on the fundraising and to the designers for making such good use of space. Worth a trip!
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