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Ramping up the excitement: inside the Campus Pool skatepark

Written by
Hannahbella Nel

From Motion and Dame Emily Park to the kickflipping kids on College Green, skate has long been a part of Bristol life. Now, ramps and ledges in otherwise unused areas of the city are being given a new lease of life thanks to the talented skaters and BMXers of Bristol city. 

One of the most exciting examples of this is the regeneration of a derelict swimming pool in Bishopsworth into an indoor concrete skatepark.

The Campus Pool has been brought to us by Campus Skateparks, a social enterprise that has set out to 'rebrand youth work', using the positive energy and influence of skateboarding to engage with youngsters.

It is the belief of the two Campus founders - both of which come from youth and social work backgrounds - that the best way to work with young people is to provide an inclusive space that creates opportunities for socialising and personal development, without pressure to conform.

Campus commissioned Canvas to design and build the Campus pool. This inspiring group specialise in skatepark design and construction, including the regeneration of abandoned spaces into the most incredible skateparks. The Campus pool project was first announced nine months ago and is just one of several treats it has in store for Bristol and Bath.

Hannahbella Photography

Walking into the pool skatepark - which will also house a cafe and meeting areas for social work - natural light glows down from the old swimming pool skylights onto the perfectly smooth concrete.

The old Bishopsworth pool, which was closed in 2012, now offers a rush of adrenaline as you gaze across the bowl, the kickers, and the rails to the eight-foot vertical bowled corner.

The Campus team have been regenerating the entire building and have been hands-on throughout. Just seeing the excitement and passion for this project on their faces as they paint the kerbs is enough to tell you that they can't wait for others to try it.

Harry Chilcott Campus Team, Hannahbella Photography

Campus fought a two-year battle to secure a 25-year lease on this community asset building. However, it was worth the fight; as the location has always been a leisure facility, this beautiful regeneration project has been allowed to make the park with concrete, a unique sight to find in an indoors park and something that will likely make it a cultural attraction for many years more than a wooden equivalent.

Harry Chilcott, Hannahbella Photography

Inside, the Campus Pool's layout allows you to flow through the large variety of obstacles without the need to put a foot on the ground. It features a mix of ramps and classic street style elements, including four foot high hipped quarter pipe, eight foot high hipped vert bowled wall, hubba ledge, whippy quarter pipe transfer and much more. Campus are happy that the pool fits the brief of making 'skaters feel better than they are instantly'.

Sam Ward Canvas Team, Hannahbella Photography

Once fully opened, the Campus Pool will offer BMX evenings, along with skateboarding and scooters sessions. The latter two groups will get to experience it for the first time for the Grand Opening, taking place Sunday July 26. This date has also coincides with the launch of the Campus Skatestore, which will sell a range of skate hardware and apparel.  

Derw The Damaja, Hannahbella Photography

Griff, Hannahbella Photography

Tom Mangham, Hannahbella Photography

But that's not all. Along with the pool, the Canvas team are also working on the regeneration of the skatepark in Royal Victoria park in Bath. This will feature the UK's largest outdoor concrete vertical bowl, replacing the much loved, but past its safe use vert ramp. Royal Victoria skatepark will be finished in September this year. 

Canvas Spaces

We are also the first to reveal that Canvas will be installing a granite topped block in the Bearpit, located inside the St. James Barton roundabout. Created in association with the Bearpit Improvement Group, the so-called 'Bearpit Block' has received as a welcome reaction from Bristol's skateboarders. Watch this space for an installation date.


Bearpit Block Preview By Canvas Spaces

Campus Pool Skatepark, Bishopsworth Swimming Pool, Whitchurch Lane, Bishopsworth, BS13 7RJ. Grand Opening July 26, midday-4pm. Check the Campus Pool or Canvas Skateparks websites for more information.

Find out what else is happening in Bristol.

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