|Werrington Skatepark in Peterborough. Weird colour cast courtesy of Instagram|
Warrington wa-hoo!When I found out there was a twin bowl skatepark near my in-law's house in Peterborough the question wasn't if I would skate it, but when. Like a lot of skateparks I've visited recently I couldn't find any reliable information online to tell me anything about Werrington Skatepark, least of all where it actually is. Skateparks cost a lot of money to build but despite all the brilliant planning and campaigning that goes into getting a skatepark built no thought appears to be given to publicity. I guess they rely on local knowledge, but if you're not local finding these amazing places gets challenging. Which is part of the reason I'm writing this blog post.
After a bit of meandering driving about the place I found myself in a giant carpark behind a Tescos, scanning the horizon for any indication of where Werrington Skatepark might be hidden. As it turns out (like a lot of skateparks) this skatepark is part of a larger recreation ground. One of the things I like about Peterborough is that being a new town the green spaces appear to have been given a fairly decent prominence when the planners did their thing.
There's a huge car park really close to Werrington Skatepark that appears to be originally meant for users of the nearby sports field and the large green spaces dog owners use to empty their bowels. The dogs' bowels that is. The car park has a gravel surface, and loose gravel and skateparks do not mix. Before I could skate I had to spend about half an hour picking out lumps of stone from the bowls, hossing them into the surrounding grass. If you're not a skater you might not know this, but hitting stones while skating brings proceedings to a halt with the type of brutal efficiency that can loosen teeth. Not good.
Werrington skatepark is like (almost) every other public skatepark I've flailed about in. Filthy. If you're new to this skating lark I highly recommend you spend a bit of time before hopping on your board just wandering about the place looking for stuff that might cause you to come a cropper. I know that local councils work hard to keep parks clean, but unfortunately there's always wronguns who don't give a shit for your safety and think nothing of peppering lovely smooth surfaces with smashed glass and gawd knows what else. Money, there's always money on the ground at skateparks. No idea why, there just is. I digress.
Werrington Skatepark review
Werrington skatepark is a thing if true beauty. There are no bowls anywhere near where I live (Ipswich) so this was my first experience of bowl skating. The skatepark is split into two large bowls, one much deeper and longer than the other. I spent most of my time in the smaller, shallower bowl. Partly because I'm about as graceful as a rat carrying a hornets nest on my board. Partly because there were shallow puddles in the 'deep end' of the larger bowl.
Skating in the wet is heinous, but most of the surfaces were dry enough to skate. I realise it's pointless talking about the weather then reviewing a skatepark but I mention it because skating a park with damp patches is quite restrictive. You can't relax and use all the surfaces, so you can't get a proper feel for the place. This winter has already taken enough of a toll on my setup.
Both bowls have metal coping around about 90% of the lip. Each bowl has a 'roll in' area, with a smooth curve meeting the ground level, rather than the right angle of the lips with coping. This was a nice touch that allowed an old duffer like me to skate into a bowl for the first time without filling my trousers with fear poo.
The designers of Werrington Skatepark have put a nice amount of thought into the area immediately surrounding the bowls. There are a couple of low transitions near the entrance to the park that make up quite a neat little mini ramp. There's what I guess would be called a grinding block with a nice run in that I had some fun with. Surrounding the back of the largest bowl there's something I've never seen at a skatepark - a wavy track of concrete that looks almost like the sort of 'tabletops' you would see on a BMX track. No idea what they're for, but I had some fun pumping up and down them.
Werrington Skatepark also has a little shelter, which apparently is supposed to pump out music from a local radio station, but it wasn't working when I was there. I'm not sure I get why some skateparks have shelters. If it's raining then you don't skate. Simple. Sitting in a little shelter and watching while a skatepark gets more and more wet and un-skatable just sounds miserable.
I absolutely loved Werrington Skatepark in Peterborough. If this was near me I'd probably spend almost all my skating time here. I always skate early morning so had the place entirely to myself. So I can't comment on how busy this skatepark gets, but unlike most parks I don't see how this place has something for everyone. If you like bowls and steep transitions you'll love it. If you're a scooterer and want to spend 99% of your time at the skatepark standing on the coping then you might have more fun elsewhere.
There's a huge skatepark across Peterborough at Stanground that appears to have a lot more variety than Werrington Skatepark, but hey, maybe that's why Werrington got a bowl. Whatever the reason Werrington is a bowl park I've very glad it is. What a brilliant place.
Werrington Skatepark map
To help other folk find Werrington Skatepark I've added it to Google Maps. Ignore the fact the skatepark doesn't show up on the satellite view, it is there, I promise.
Werrington Skatepark photos
Please don't rip off my photos without asking. Just get in touch, I won't bite (hard).
Werrington Skatepark video
This video ain't a showcase. I occasionally video myself skating to try and figure out where I need to improve. I'm posting this video as footage can often paint a more visceral picture of a skatepark than photos alone.
This blog post inspired me to create a new blog about Peterborough Skateparks, view it at http://peterboroughskateparks.blogspot.co.uk/