Alconbury Weald has been designed to embed Sport England’s Active Design Principles: from the design of cycle ways and walking routes, through to doorstep green space and play spaces. The development seeks to put active living at the heart of the development: for the young at heart of all ages.
There are a range of green spaces and play areas – all bespoke to Alconbury Weald. More spaces will come forward in each future phase, including Prestley Country Park which will bring forward a 150 acre park around the historic Prestley Wood.
Cricket Pitch and Pavilion
Alconbury Weald’s cricket pitch was unveiled by former Prime Minister Sir John Major in summer 2019 and now sees regular training sessions for players of all ages. Sawtry Cricket Club play regular games here and is supporting Alconbury Weald to build its own teams for boys and girls cricket, and adults.
The Pavilion is Alconbury Weald’s first community centre, providing social and community space, changing rooms, toilets and events space: all with views over the cricket pitch for people to enjoy.
The Pavilion hosts a range of regular sports and community activities including Alconbury Scouts, pilates, yoga, Bollywood dance fitness, tai chi, baby yoga, mum and tots’ fitness, and Stars of Stage dance classes for children.
Garland Park follows the line of an historic “taxiway”, where aircraft prepared for take off, and landed safely home.
This park is named after the first pilot to be awarded the Victoria Cross for gallantry in the Second World War: Donald Garland – who flew from Alconbury in May 1940 alongside his navigator Thomas Gray - in a successful raid on the Albert Canal in Belgium, to hold back the advancing Nazi army forces.
The park includes something for all ages: with play spaces for youngsters, outdoor table tennis, and walking routes, with regular seating to stop and watch the Weald go by.
It also has a community orchard with historic fruit tree species for people to enjoy; herb gardens and wildflower meadow to support “bee roads” for their movement and feeding; and other habitats to for nature and people to enjoy. Garland Park will grow in phases until it connects with the Runway Park coming forward in the next phase of Alconbury Weald.
A place for nature
As Garland Park continues to grow, so will the habitats for nature. Here are just some of the enhancements through phase one and ways to experience nature, as you enjoy some of the walking and cycling routes here at Alconbury Weald.
560 Linear metres
of wildflower turf
with historic species
Alconbury Weald’s main park is at the heart of the community and provides plenty of things to do: with access to allotments, sports courts, play equipment and plenty of benches to rest and watch the kids having fun.
Spaces to make, grow, slide, skate, swing, relax and play – Swynford Park has it all! Children can climb the watch tower to discover the treetop stronghold woven into the existing Pine tree canopy and look out across the surrounding land before descending via the 12m long slide. The skate park offers the perfect place to practice new tricks whilst the Multi Use Games Area (MUGA) provides an all-weather sports court facility – for netball, basketball and tennis. And after all that, you can get a refreshing drink or ice cream from Swynford Stores.
This site was once home to two large aircraft hangars; you can follow the route the planes would have taken along Garland Park, which will eventually connect up to a new park on the area of the former Runway.
Let's Go Skate provide private lessons, group sessions and events at Swynford Park. Find out more on the Let's Go Skate website.
Somning Park is an adventure playground inspired by the great outdoors. Children are encouraged to scale the climbing frame, relax in the hammock and explore the teepee dens. Set within a naturalistic landscape to encourage children to get out and discover nature, the open lawn provides the perfect space for a kickabout with plenty of benches and picnic tables for parents.
The Pine trees in the Park are the largest trees to be ‘translocated’ from elsewhere on Alconbury Weald: moved from more densely planted former military areas to thrive in their new home.
Next to the park is Somning Way, which provides residents with an ecologically focused nature walk along accessible footpaths and cycle routes that pass through a wide range of habitats including wildflower meadows, hedgerow, wetlands and woodlands.
This river-themed play area provides children with the opportunity to experience life on the river bed, walking amongst the cobbles and clambering over Celtic glacial boulders. The planting and trees have been carefully selected to contribute to this character, adding a sensory element with bright colours and fragrant scents.
The large ponds or ‘swales’ throughout Alconbury Weald provide storage for rainwater during heavy rainfall. They are part of making sure the development is resilient to climate change, and supports neighbouring villages that are lower than Alconbury Weald, by holding onto water for longer, before it drains to local rivers. This water is filtered and cleaned by the planting to improve the water quality. These swales also provide an increase in biodiversity by creating additional habitats for wildlife.
Keeping active at Alconbury Weald
Alconbury Weald offers activities for all ages and abilities, and keeping active is essential to ageing well. Find out more about our chair based exercise programme with the Healthy Communities team in our video.