The weekend, if you include the Friday too, has seen a lot of goings on. We’ve had the annual Go Skateboarding Day on the Friday, it was also Summer Solstice (that means the longest day of the year from sunrise to sunset). As well as that we’ve also had a Supermoon which means that the Moon has been the closest to Earth it has been all year. “So what!” you might be thinking. Well, according to fanatical Moon and Planetary enthusiasts this weekend we should all have suffered from volcanic eruptions, freak storms, earthquakes and tsunamis due to the position of the Moon and the gravitational effects of its close proximity. I don’t think I need to tell you that this would be bad news for skateboarders. Unless of course the gravitational pull had a dramatic improvement to the height of your Ollies, but that would be a small compensation for the alleged Apocalypse that was forecast. Thankfully, last I checked, we’re OK and the World still fully intact and seemingly Apocalypse free (I do apologise if your house has since been struck by fire and brimstone after having wrote this blog). Hopefully though, regardless of the impending doom that was set to cause mayhem and destruction, you managed to get out for a skate on Go Skateboarding Day or at least over the weekend. Well on Friday, I rallied the troops for a Park Invasion of the new build of Bearpark Skatepark, here’s what we found.
Where is it?
You’re going to want to know how to get there first, let’s assume that you’re in Durham City, it’s a fairly logical point to start from. Whether you intend to skate or drive from there to Bearpark Skatepark you should be able to follow these directions easy enough, or if you know the area you can pick up the route at some point along the way.
You want to be on the A690 heading south-east to Crook, once at Nevilles Cross traffic lights take a right onto the A167 to Framwellgate Moor. After passing under a footbridge (it;’s big, you can’t miss it) you’ll then be looking for a Pub on the left hand side followed by a set of traffic lights and a signpost for Bearpark. Turn left following the sign and continue on that road. It will take you down into a dip with a little river and a bridge, then it’s an uphill climb while looking for a right hand turn on to Colliery Road (it’s signposted). Take the right hand turn and continue. Keep going until you can no longer see houses on the left hand side and follow a long line of trees and bushes. There are two red gates for pedestrians, park up next to one of these, you’re there.
The park has been built in a fenced off part of the Infants and Juniors School playing field along with a children’s play area. It is a concrete skatepark set out in a ‘V’ shape and has some interesting obstacles to hit up. There is a good sized mini ramp with the right amount of flat-bottom between each transition. One side is a standard mini transition with an extension taking up maybe a quarter or third of the ramp. The other side of it gives you the choice of four ways to hit it. You can if you like use it as a standard mini ramp or you can choose to exit the mini ramp in one of three ways. One part of it is a spine, one part a volcano and the other a roll-over hump or mogel. Each of these exits, whether you decide to roll, grind or air over them, will put you into the street section of the park.
If you imagine that the mini ramp takes up a fair amount of one side of the ‘V’ shape, the rest of the park is dedicated to street style obstacles. There are some good ones too. Where the two parts of the ‘V’ shape meet there are a few things you might find in any ordinary skatepark. Two flat-banks form a hip and a raised platform but also include a little euro-gap on one side and six long stairs with a hand rail. Next to the euro-gap is a downward sloping ledge around about one foot high, next to the stairs is a manny block that starts off less than 6 inches high but spanning out over the length of the stairs to about five feet high. The most interesting obstacle in this part of the park is a fire hydrant placed at the top of the hip, it takes a little bit of practice to get the speed for the approach but once you work that out i’m sure you’ll agree it’s a really nice addition to the park.
So, if those two parts take up both one side of the ‘V’ shape and where the two points would meet, the last part takes up the remainder of it. In this area of the park there are some nice obstacles, one of then is a variation of a driveway that has a rainbow ledge but also with a gap between the two ramps. It makes it a little scarier but it’s good being as you can skate it as one or the other. There is a flat-bank at the far end which also has a block set into the top lying flush with it. I like this bank to block set up, its hard to find the line to hit it up but fun once you get it. My favourite feature in the park is a flat-bank that is tiled to give it a brick effect like a real street spot. It’s like a circle or disc has been pushed into the ground at an angle. In front of it though is a manny pad that is also tiled in this brick effect which has been slightly transitioned into the bank itself. It’s a fun obstacle which can be hit up in a bunch of different ways with a potential for getting creative on.
A good park, Bearpark Skatepark ticks a lot of the boxes. A dedicated transition rider might find themselves at risk of getting a little bit bored with it being largely a street set up. There are some interesting obstacles though if you prefer street skating. There are only few negative things that I would say about the park but they are nothing to cry about. One is that in the mini ramp the coping sits a little prouder than most making it feel a little unstable when in grinds. Another is that some of the lines are a little tight and difficult to negotiate, maybe a little more thought could have gone into this, but at the same time it does make it a bit more of a challenge. Also with the ‘V’ shaped layout, and the crossing over of lines due to its shape, it means when there are a few in the park it can get a bit hectic. Other than that the park is good and is well put together, although the placement of a few things might be questionable it obviously has had a lot of thought put into it. So, a big pat on the back for all involved. Bendcrete was the contractor responsible for the build and it was funded at least in part by Durham County Council. (Feel free to forward me any information as to who set up this project and I will update this blog, send to [email protected])
The Bearpark Skatepark Edit
Here is an edit put together of our mission to Bearpark Skatepark, although most of the footage is from Go Skateboarding Day a couple of the lads enjoyed it that much that they went back a second time and caught a few extra clips on camera, enjoy.