Last Updated on June 21, 2023
Wickham Market skatepark is quite close to my heart. I grew up in Wickham Market and the only skating to be had back then (late 80s / early 90s) was the harsh loose gravel roads. So the fact that a skatepark even exists in Wickham Market is pretty damn cool. But enough of the past, let’s get back to the present day.
I rocked up to Wickham Skatepark at about 4pm on a Friday afternoon. This is a time I’d normally avoid when visiting any skatepark as it’s just after chucking out time at schools, and the last thing ‘da yoof’ need is an ageing shredder like me clogging up the place. So I was a bit surprised to find I had Wickham Skatepark to myself for the whole time I was there.
Over 2,000 people live in Wickham Market so it is far from a tiny village. There’s a big supermarket, an enormous health centre, a Chinese Takeaway, an Indian takeaway and lots of other shops. Having grown up in the village I know that in geographical terms Wickham Market has a large ‘sphere of influence’. Wickham (as the locals call it) is the only place for miles around with any significant civil amenities. It’s certainly the only place for some distance in any direction with a skatepark. Sure the skatepark has just two ramps, but in a rural location where skate spots are sparse why was Wickham skatepark empty in what I would consider a peak time?
The quarter pipe is decent enough, and at about five feet high is big enough to get a decent drop in on. The flat ramp is of a similar height and in-between the two is a pyramid type obstacle that is de rigueur is almost all skateparks. There’s even a grind rail, which is something I haven’t seen in many Suffolk Skateparks. There’s also a pretty tidy grind box.
Then I skated, and a theory as to the absence of skaters, scooters and BMX kids started to form in my mind. Wickham Market Skatepark has an unfortunate problem. The slab of concrete that houses the pyramid between the ramps appears to have shifted in some sort of very localised earthquake. The borders of this obstacle are about an inch lower (or higher) than the surrounding concrete. No big deal on a BMX, probably not even that much of a big issue on a scooter. But on a skateboard hitting a ridge like this at speed is horrible. You’re either going to get thrown off your deck, or you’re going to lose a lot of speed. Either way this problem does not make for a pleasant skate.
I saw evidence that someone has tried to smooth the issue over with some concrete filler, but this is pretty badly smashed. As I’ve said repeatedly on this blog a lot of people work really hard to make skateparks a reality, especially in rural settings. But hitting ridges like this makes this section of Wickham Skatepark potentially unsafe. By the time you’re reading this the problem may well have been fixed, but in the meantime it’s so harsh that I found I could maintain more speed dropping in, steering around the pyramid and then re-aiming for the opposite ramp. Not ideal.