Abbey Meadows to get £320,000 ‘lease of life’

Children can look forward to having lots of fun in a new play area at Abingdon’s historic Abbey Meadows next year thanks to a £320,000 investment.

The revamp is part of a major £615,000 project to improve the popular spot to attract more visitors throughout the year.

The main play area has been designed to bring local history to life, particularly for children.

The centrepiece of the new play area is Grand Abbey, designed on how Abingdon Abbey would have looked hundreds of years ago, including climbing towers, wobbly bridges and climbing nets.

Next to the Grand Abbey there will be a river scene featuring a boat to climb on and a mini Abingdon Lock to walk along.

A new sensory area and play garden will provide a great place for toddlers to explore, while a new pathway will ensure the area is fully accessible for those with disabilities, with inclusive equipment such as a broad slide, a trampoline and a roundabout also on offer.

The site will include an informal area for ball games, a seating area, and lots of traditional play equipment such as slides, swings, a climbing net and a zip line.

Cllr Charlotte Dickson, cabinet member for leisure at the Vale, said: “I’m delighted we’ve agreed this major investment to improve Abbey Meadow and am really look forward to seeing people enjoying the new play area next year.

“The new play area, along with the other improvements we’ll be making, and the refurbishment to the outdoor pool, will really help to give this much-loved area a new lease of life.”

Following feedback sessions with visitors to the park over the summer, the area will now also feature monkey bars, a diamond climbing net, an aerial seesaw, more seating and litter bins, and the popular rocking horse, which is part of the existing site, will be refurbished.

Cllr Matthew Barber, leader of Vale of White Horse District Council, said: “The designs for the park look fantastic, brilliantly capturing the famous Abbey and the riverside location. Our aim is to create one of the best play areas in Oxfordshire, providing a safe and fun place for families to enjoy and which attracts many more visitors to the area.”

The work will also include new toilets, fencing around the splash park and dedicated changing facilities for children.

There will also be a circular dog walk, and a sloping path to provide people easy access to the splash area and riverside. 

A planning application has been submitted for the site and, subject to approval being granted and good weather, work is expected to begin in January, with the park open for late spring /early summer 2017.

A consultation for residents to have their say began on Thursday and runs until December 7. The target decision date is January 3.