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Spiceball Park Banbury

Home > Oxford > Dog Friendly | Kids | Nature | Parks | Walks
by Cressida Ryan (subscribe)
Classicist and traveller
Published August 20th 2016
A large community park maintained by Banbury Town Council in Oxfordshire, Spiceball Park offers somewhere to play, to walk, to run, to lie in the sun, or just to potter around. A beautiful, safe, well-planned park with both man-made attractions and areas of 'wilder' nature, this lovely park is an oasis of calm in a busy town.

spiceball, park, banbury
Children's play area through the trees

The park is laid out in three main sections, with something for everyone. At the south end are the most formal aspects. a children's play park sits next to a skateboard ramp to amuse teenagers. Picnic tables are scattered around, and there is also a set of football goals. A couple of sheltered tables offer people somewhere to gather in inclement weather, and there is also a kind of mini obstacle course for boards / bikes beside them.

spiceball, park, banbury
The middle section of the park through the trees

The other two sections are more wild, bordered by trees to separate them off. The middle one has a mown lawn and is a great area to run around, lie down with a book, or fly a kite.

The most northern section is the least 'managed'; the grass is longer, allowing wild flowers to begin to flourish, with a mown path through the middle.

spiceball, park, banbury
The north end of the park through the trees

Part of the park covers a former refuse tip. You would never know it. In fact, the park goes out of its way to provide extra information and resources and be as friendly, welcoming and accessible as possible. There are benches and bins (including specific dog mess ones) around the whole park. Half way down the East side is a pond with information about what is in it - the park becomes a learning resource.

spiceball, park, banbury
Finding out about the pond

Around the other side is the designated 'fitness area'. These 'trim trails' have become increasingly popular around the UK, and can be found along beach fronts and other similar locations. Basic pieces of static fitness equipment are set out along a path, or similar, to offer those wanting to keep fit an open air fitness resource. Marked out by instructions from the council on terms of use, the trail at Spiceball is limited, but still useful.

spiceball, park, banbury
One stop on the fitness trail

The park sits between the Oxford canal and the River Cherwell which meet up at either end. You can get out of the northern end and onto further land leading to Grimsbury Reservoir, and access the canal at various points, but the water offers a natural boundary to this area.

spiceball, park, banbury
A bridge over the waterway to the east of the park, by a weir (beware)

A full circuit around the perimeter is just under a mile (1.5km), which makes for a good gentle stroll. The eastern side has a reasonably good path, with designated cycle lanes to protect cyclists and walkers alike.

spiceball, park, banbury
Along the eastern path

The western path is less formally laid out, and is therefore more muddy and potentially challenging to navigate with a pram, for example.

spiceball, park, banbury
The western path

It also runs parallel to the canal, making it easy to switch to a different kind of walk.

spiceball, park, banbury
The canal path alongside Spiceball Park

Access includes via a pay and display car park at the south end, or via the canal (which runs along the west side). It is less than ten minutes from the train station on foot, and even closer to the bus station.

spiceball, park, banbury
Welcome to Spiceball (North End)

Joggers, families, dog walkers, cyclists, and skateboarders all have something to enjoy in the park; it really does offer a community heart and hub. The gentle wooded perimeter path, the formal play areas, and the large expanses of grass all make for a park with something for everyone. Throughout the year various community events happen here too such as the Banbury and District Show, so it is always worth keeping one's eyes on the local news.
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Why? A park with something for everyone
When: always open
Where: Banbury
Cost: free
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