Spotlight on Vale Park, Aylesbury.
This weekend Tennis For Free is launching a number of new sites across the UK, including Vale Park in Aylesbury.
This is Aylesbury’s main central park with a contemporary feel, beautiful trees and striking flower beds. There is ample seating throughout the park and hard surfaced paths link to all facilities. An ideal place for informal games and picnics once the Tennis is done. Today we look back at the history of this most fitting location.
Early 19th century
It is evident that the people of Aylesbury had use and access to the Vale site during the latter half of the 19C. However, Aylesbury Vale Athletics clubs were in existence prior to this date and were using, if not based at The Vale.The Vale of Aylesbury Athletic Club was formed in 1893 when the Vale of Aylesbury Bicycle Club (est.1880) became the Vale of Aylesbury Cycling and Amateur Athletic Club. Until 1906 the Club’s popular August Bank Holiday meeting was held at The Vale site.It is likely that Aylesbury’s more rural nature of the town and its trades negated the need for a park or publicspace incorporating the usual horticultural displays for some time. However, the park is linked to perhaps themost well-known and highly regarded park design company of the time, Thomas Mawson and Son. AlthoughE.P.Mawson produced a number of designs for the park and the final layout was executed by the BoroughEngineer the Mawson layout is evident today.
The drinking fountain, the gift of Councillor Thomas Sheriff to the town in 1914, was moved to the Vale Park from Kingsbury Square in 1929 when a bus station was erected in the square.
The OS map of 1926 labels the site as a Sports Ground. However, the Mayor Adkins opening speech in 1937 refers to the purchase of The Vale ground as occurring in 1928. It was also around this time that the Borough council were considering buying ‘more’ land at The Vale, implying they were already in ownership of at least some of the site. Mayor Adkins’ speech refers to the ‘new layout’ of the site and ‘.the tennis courts properly laid out’ implying previous activity on the site, including tennis, prior to the construction of The Vale Park.In Spring 1929 the Sub Committee were considering making facilities available for use at the ‘earliest suitable date’, including tennis courts, bowling green and running track. The Borough Surveyor was instructed to interview the grounds man with the ‘Cartwright cricket’ pitches, Mr C Bateman, to see if he would consider maintaining the Vale Ground, in the meantime it was instructed that sheep would be placed on the land.
Luckily for us the sheep have long since moved and the park is now ready for us to play ball. We look forward to welcoming you to this location with session beginning tomorrow, Saturday 11th May from 3pm.
These sessions will then run weekly and are open to anyone of any level and any age. The sessions are designed to be family friendly so book on all of your family members and come down to give the session a try. You and your family members will be able to participate in the various sub groups appropriate to their age and standard.
The groups within the TFF session are:
3pm - 4pm-Parent & Child Session(equipment is left out until 4.30pm to allow parents to continue playing with child after the 3-4pm session)
3pm - 4pm-Beginners(typically non-rally capable juniors)
3pm - 4pm-Improvers+(Open Play session with coach supervision follows on until 12:00pm)
NOTE: After the3pm - 4pmcoach led session, there is an Open Play session from 3.30pm - 4.30pm for the Improvers+ group supervised by a coach.The session kicks off at
To book your first Tennis for free experience clickhere
Content courtesy of Aylesbury Vale District Council.