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A Journey Through Teesdale

Mon, 01 Jul 2013  |  Jon Angel, UrbanCrazy

After 30 years’ service, the old minigolf course in Barnard Castle, County Durham was beginning to ‘show its age’ and so the local Town Council decided it was time to replace it. They set about finding a company that could design and build a suitable replacement and we are delighted to say that, following a vigorous procurement process, we at UrbanCrazy were awarded the contract.

Now, after a 16 week build program and a herculean effort from all involved, the course is open for business!

The brief stated the 9-hole course would be named “A Journey Through Teesdale” with every hole themed on a familiar local landmark or nearby place of interest. The course was required to meet British Minigolf Association competition standards whilst serving to keep people of all ages and skill levels entertained.

So we produced original designs and plans which, we are pleased to say, were met with unanimous approval. Risk assessments were subsequently carried out and method statements drawn up before our crew could get started on the groundworks, then the construction phase. As you might expect, working in the north of England during the winter wasn’t without its drawbacks! A period of around 3 weeks was lost to uncooperative weather but, thankfully, we were able to make up this time later on in the process.

As is the norm across all our new-build projects, heavy emphasis was placed on using materials that are robust, sustainable and in keeping with the local geography. Here we combined elements of Dunhouse Quarry stone, attractive timber and “Forest Green” felt surfacing to create some of the unique features which include representations of the “River Tees”, “Bowes Museum” and “Egglestone Abbey”. Our layout was arranged to maximise use of the available space and to build interest as the round progresses. We incorporated profiling in the form of mounds, depressions and slopes, all of which are strategically-positioned to challenge, stimulate and sometimes frustrate the player!

We were able to salvage Yorkstone setts from a nearby worksite and used these to create the sinuous perimeter and interconnecting pathways around and in between the holes. Turf was then laid in the areas beyond the paths to accentuate the appearance of the site.

The final piece of the jigsaw arrived in the shape of bespoke stone artworks – exquisitely sculpted by local stone artist Phil Townsend – which occupy the ‘islands’ that sit on, and adjacent to, 6 of the holes. These pieces really tell a story about the history of Teesdale and its unique landscape, making the visitor’s experience all the more fulfilling.

We are delighted with the results and believe we have repaid the trust that the local authority invested in us, by creating a facility befitting the market town and setting. Our sentiments were echoed by Town Clerk, Michael King, who said “UrbanCrazy are experts at what they do and have designed a fantastic 9-hole British competition-standard minigolf course”.

For photos of the completed course, as well as a few taken during the development period, please click on the gallery (above, right).

Why not take “A Journey Through Teesdale” for yourself, sample the delights of an area steeped in heritage, tradition and beauty, and stop off at the new minigolf course for a round or 3? You will find the site at Scar Top, Barnard Castle, County Durham, DL12 8LY. If you manage to get a game in please do tell us about your experience on Twitter. We’d be especially interested to hear about your best score and your favourite feature or hole. Ours is probably Hole 8 – a nod to “County Bridge”.

We are always looking to take on more projects of this nature. If the prospect of adding a bespoke miniature golf course to your site appeals, please drop us a line at your convenience and we can talk through the options.

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