Residents encouraged to sign up for Beat the Street 2019
Beat the street is back! Beat the Street is set to return to Swindon and residents can now pick up their cards ready to join in the fun when the game launches.
2019 is the second year of the initiative running in Swindon. Beat the Street encourages people to get active outdoors. It turns whole towns and cities into a giant game. Players tap cards and fobs against sensors called Beat Boxes while walking or cycling to earn points. Whether competing as a team or an individual there are prizes to win.
Last year’s event was a huge success. An unprecedented 32,000 local people took part. They walked and cycled a massive 313,000 miles in six weeks. A record for any of the Beat the Street challenges so far.
This year’s challenge begins on Wednesday, 25 September and runs for six weeks.
A launch event will be taking place on the day from 4pm – 6pm at the GWR Park on Faringdon Road. There will fun activities and double points available on Beat Boxes.
Beat the Street starts on 25th September, and cards and maps will shortly vavailable from distribution points including Swindon Central Library.
From left: Peter Barrett and Omelia Legg, library and info assistants at Swindon Central Library pictured with Stuart Arthur from Beat the Street.
Primary school pupils will have a fob given to them. Other players can collect cards and a map for free from distribution points across Swindon. They include selected supermarkets, libraries and leisure centres.
Councillor Brian Ford, Swindon Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Adults and Health, said:
“Beat the Street is only one week away. So make sure you pick up a card and map so that you’re ready to start earning points for your chosen school or team straight away.
“We’ve already seen lots of excitement ahead of the game kicking off. Primary schools are eager to travel even further than last year and lots of workplaces and community teams are signing up to play. Beat the Street is a fun way to get active and explore new areas of Swindon. So I encourage people to get involved. Last year we were one of the top towns so let’s beat that this year and be the top town in the country.”
On the theme of exploring Swindon have a root round:
You may (or may not) remember that Angela and I walked half of the River Ray Parkway last year, from Moulden Hill to John Lewis. This summer (2019) we finally got around to walking the second half, John Lewis to Coate Water in our tour of the River Ray Parkway part 2.
We went out the back of the Mannington Retail Park, looking for the old green signs that show the way. We found the first one on the edge of a field used by dog walkers, pointing us towards the Old Town Rail Path, following Sustrans Route 45.
NB: This stretch of this walk is approx 5 miles
Blagrove Fitness Trail
Lydiard Country Park
Old Town Rail Path
Coate Water Country Park
Blue Route 45 signs – Old Town 2 miles, Wroughton 2 miles
Discovered a new thing already, anyone have a clue what “Blagrove Fitness Trail” is (or was!) ?
The route now follows the road through the Signal Way industrial estate, sneaks out at the end of Berenger Close (which we almost didn’t find), and over the top of Evelyn Street, still following the old Rail Line.
Next to the Piper’s Way roundabout we discovered another sign.
Lydiard Country Park
Coate Water Country Park
Old Town Rail Path
From the sign we headed south along Piper’s Way, crossing over to take the off-road path around the allotments on the east side. Just after the allotments a further sign pointed us off road, onto a track that leads all around the edge of the Broome Manor Golf Complex.
Here we were excited to discover a stone marker, planted in memory of Cassandra Clunies-Ross, carved by Sarah Chanin in 1992. The work is carved in Sarsen stone and was commissioned by Thamesdown Borough Council’s, Great Western Community Forest Team. The stone marks an area of what was then new woodland.
The inscription reads:
Casso’s Wood – planted January 1992 by friends, in fond memory of Cassandra Clunes Rosss, ecologist-forester. 1965-1991. That her work to conserve woodland here and abroad is not forgotten.
The last part of the trail had us squeezing past nettles and wondering if we were going the right way, before suddenly finding Broome Manor Lane, and the familiar sight of the Coate Water Park.
The final Parkway sign stands to the west of the lake, near the miniature golf course.
So this Beat the Street Swindon challenge sounds like fantastic family fun. Read more about it all below.
Swindon is set to be transformed into a giant game this autumn as thousands of residents compete to see if their school, community or business can walk, run or cycle the furthest.
Running from 12 September to 24 October, Beat the Street is a free, fun challenge where people are rewarded with points and prizes for exploring their town on foot or bicycle.
More than 160 special sensors called ‘Beat Boxes’ will appear across Swindon. Players tap the Beat Boxes with cards and fobs to track their journey and earn points for themselves and their team – the more Beat Boxes people swipe the more points they earn.
Schools and community groups across Swindon will be competing against each other to see if they can travel the furthest, climb the leaderboards and win hundreds of pounds worth of sport and fitness equipment.
Families are encouraged to play for their local school. While the wider community can create their own teams by firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sam Allen: ‘Swindon Town manager and football pioneer Sam Allen (the sixth-most longest-serving manager in Football League history), and was unveiled on May 19, 2018, by former Swindon Town footballer John Trollope MBE, and Sam’s granddaughter-in-law, Pat Chapman.
‘In 1764 a free school for the working classes was provided in a cottage Newport Street, to educate 20 boys and 5 girls on land owned by the Goddard family, but very soon the number of pupils outgrew the accommodation and a two storey stone-built National School was built on the same site in 1835. Among its pupils in the 1860s was future author, Richard Jefferies, mentioned in my Blip about Jefferies Avenue a few weeks ago.’
We’ve also done the Richard Jefferies Old Town Trail. I’ll link to that at the bottom. This time though it was the River Ray Parkway trail we decided to explore.
I’ve always known that Swindon, and West Swindon is green. Very. But doing this walk demonstrated it even more.
So here we go: discovering the River Ray Parkway:’
‘Continuing our occasional series, “Jess and Angela wander interesting parts of Swindon”, we ventured out on a sunny day to discover what the River Ray Parkway was all about.
If you live or have wandered in the south-west/south-east parts of Swindon you may have come across the odd dark green metal signpost, some of them still contain actual signage – as in the image below.
This one is at the Kingshill end of the canal towpath. It reads:
Coate Water Country Park Lydiard Country Park Old Town Rail Path Wroughton Kingshill Canal
NB: The direction in which they point isn’t reliable. Many of them have been turned around by mischief makers.
They’re labelled,where they’re readable: River Ray Parkway.
The River Ray Parkway is a green walking and cycling route, introduced in 1991 as part of the Great Western Community Forest scheme, it ran for 8 miles from Coate Water to Moulden Hill.
It was expanded from the original effort to create the Swindon Old Town Rail Path, developed with the help of Sustrans, then a small Bristol group formed to create better walking and cycling routes.
We started out at the Moulden Hill end, and wandered along the route of NCN45, looking for the first sign. The purpose built NCN signs are quite obvious in the landscape …
National Cycle Network 45 sign The sign shows a person and bicycle icon, with the letters “45” underneath.
The direction shown reads: Swindon Station 3 Chiseldon 8 Avebury 18
But the green Parkway signs tend to blend into the trees so it took a while to find one.
After leaving the roads we walked through a long leafy corridor, spotting our first Parkway sign as we were almost at Shaw Forest Park (Shaw Tip on the River Ray Parkway map!).
The route from here follows the edge of the Shaw Forest Park (pop in for a wander across the hill), past the Swindon Lagoons which have signs describing the habitat readable through the fence.
Continuing south east, we catch up with a tributary of the actual River Ray, and follow it underneath the Great Western Way dual carriageway, around the giant Mannington Rec sports ground + park and into Bridgemead retail park.
From the map, you will notice that the River Ray Parkway follows two routes from Wootton Bassett Road to Rivermead, we followed the eastern route.
The western route follows the western tributary of the River Ray, via Westlea Park and alongside Westlea Primary school. It follows the current NCN route 45, and the Western Flyer, a newer route created recently to provide a cycling-commuter route into the town centre.
On the embedded map you can see our route, follow the green markers from the north west corner (darker green marker), clicking on the markers will show images of the signs we found. The blue markers are the signs on the western route, as found by Jess the previous week.]
I’ve met loads of people when business networking in my AA Editorial Services hat. Some of them have become clients and/or friends. So I decided to ask them what their favourite things in and around Swindon are.
First up we’ve got Tim Perkins. Being a sucker for punishment Tim has not one but two businesses. I mean really? Why WOULD you?!
One of them is TMP planning – and you can find out more about that by clicking the hyperlink.
The other is Wild Goose Gear and that one concerns itself with all things outdoorsy! ‘We love outdoor exercise and will find any excuse to be out about exploring the countryside on foot, by bike or in the water. From walking the dog, to hiking, running, cycling and open water swimming there are many ways to enjoy the outdoors.’
So it’s not surprising then that Tim has chosen to talk about the countryside around Swindon. TBH this blog is meant to be concerned with stuff INSIDE Swindon (that comes under SBC) but I’ll stretch the point. Wroughton is close enough for government work. So now over to Tim:
‘One of the great things about Swindon is the fantastic countryside right on the door step of the town. Unless you live nearby you may not know about Kings Farm Wood in Wroughton. Yet it’s a fine example of a walk that’s close to the town and easy to access.
Woodpeckers and Wildflowers on the edge of Wroughton in King’s Wood Walk
Kings Farm Wood is the most accessible of a series of linked nature reserves. They include Clouts Wood, Markham Banks and the Diocese Meadows on the southern edge of Wroughton. They’e all managed by the Wiltshire Wildlife Trust and include contrasting landscapes of meadows, combes and woodland on slopes leading up towards the Marlborough Downs.
Here’s a brief description of the Kings Farm Wood walks which can also be extended to take in the other areas I mentioned.
Start From the Ellendune Centre in Wroughton (by Tesco). There’s a large free car park here if you are driving. Walk out past the library and the War Memorial and turn left.
In a few yards you’ll reach traffic light where you go straight across (past the Co-op on your right). Keep straight on for a few hundred yards until you get to the end of this road. There you’ll see a street sign for Nursery Close pointing right. Follow this road for a few yards and you take a tarmacked footpath on your left between hedges.
At the end of this cross a road (Badgers Brook) and a small stream and go through the metal gate where you’ll see the information boards for Kings Farm Wood on your right.
Now there are three waymarked routes shown on the board on the left. These are well signposted and easy to follow:
Yellow (0.6 miles) – This is out and back route on a good quality gravel track which is suitable for pushchairs and mobility scooter.
Red (0.6 miles) – Again this is a short route on more undulating paths.
Blue (1 mile) – The longest route takes you along the gravel path to a metal gate into a field. If you have a dog, note that there may be cattle in this field so keep your dog on a lead.
Across the field you then turn left up a fairly steep slope to the top of the bank and back along a path with some fantastic views of Swindon through meadows and young planted woodland. Weather permitting you will see the distinctive white Nationwide HQ, Christchurch in Old Town and a glimpse of the top of the Murray John Tower. Follow the waymarks and you will eventually come back down the hill to the start.
These three walks are all short and the yellow one in particular is very accessible.
For the more adventurous the walks can easily be extended as there are a network of paths in this area. These link the four areas of Clouts Wood, Diocese Meadows and Markham Banks which can all be explored on a longer walk.
To get to Clouts Wood simply go through the gate at the end of the gravel path straight across the field and then through the gate opposite. There are several options of paths to the left up the hill and when you get to the top you simply turn right to reach Clouts Wood. If in doubt climb until you reach the fence that marks the boundary with the Science Museum land (old RAF Wroughton) and turn right.