Garth Park is open for public use, 10.30am Monday to Thursdays, and from 7.30am Friday to Sunday, closing by 9pm each day.
The skate park is open, please follow the below guidelines from Skateboard England and skate safely:
- Only skate on your own, with members of your household or with one other person from outside your household, whilst keeping two metres apart at all times
- Keep at least 2 metres apart from other people at all times whilst skateboarding
- Do NOT skateboard if you have any Covid-19 flu like symptoms or if you have been in contact with anyone who has
- Keep it mellow – Don’t try difficult or dangerous tricks
- No congregating with other people in any circumstances
- Clean your skate equipment before & after skating and try not touch anything else
- No physical contact – No hugs, high-fives, fist-bumps, etc
- Do not share any mobile devices, equipment, food or drink with others
- Wash your hands regularly using hand sanitizer (if soap and water is not available)
- Only use the skate park if you are actively skateboarding and leave immediately after finishing
- There should be a maximum of 8 people – Any more than that and you will not be able to be properly socially distant. Come back another time
- If using the skate park, make sure only one person is completing a run at a time.
The café, play area and outdoor gym are open. Facilities, such as toilets are now open. No BBQs are permitted in Garth Park.
The council’s offices, as well as The Citizens Advice Bureau and Registrar’s office, which are all based in Garth House, remain closed with staff working from home. On-site parking will remain closed and people are advised to park in nearby Claremont Carpark off Victoria Road.
Do not visit Garth Park if you have any symptoms – fever, coughs, shortness of breath. See NHS guidelines if this applies to you.
If the park is crowded, please use another of Bicester’s green spaces. We are asking users to respect the space and behave appropriately so the park can be enjoyed by everyone.
Updated: 07 July 2020.
To report any incident please contact Bicester Town Council at email@example.com
Garth House is a former hunting lodge built in the 1840s. Today it is set in some 9 acres of parkland and formal gardens. In May 1946, on the death of the private landowner, Garth House and the surrounding estate was purchased by the then Bicester Urban District Council at a cost of £6,500 becoming the new landowner. Some of the money was donated by notable local dignitaries of the time. A plaque in the park is a reminder of their generosity.
In 1972, as a result of local government reforms, Bicester Urban District Council became Bicester Town Council and Garth House and the park were transferred into the ownership of the new Town Council.
The original estate was larger than it is now. Bicester Urban District Council sold some of the land on Launton Road, opposite what is now Garth Park for housing development. It is unknown how much it was sold for or what the income was used for. Much more recently, in 1997, Bicester Town Council negotiated the sale of the area known as Langford Farm to a housing developer to build New Langford.
The monies raised by the sale of Langford Farm have been used to provide sports, recreational and other facilities for the people of Bicester e.g. building the Pingle Field pavilion and modernizing and improving the pavilion at Sunderland Drive.
Over many years Garth House had suffered slow but accelerating decline and had fallen into a state of some disrepair, with the roof causing particular problems. Although the house stretches over three floors, the top floor had suffered significant water damage and was unusable.
However, 2012 saw a change in the fortunes of Garth House. The Town Council decided to have the house completely re-roofed, making it wind, water tight and weather proof. With appropriate planned maintenance, this should protect Garth House for generations into the future. However, although now safe and potentially usable, the top floor does not meet modern usage standards so will be refurbished in the future to provide office space and storage space.
In 2014, Garth House was fortunate to benefit from a considerable government grant that allowed some innovative refurbishment of the Town Council used part of the building. Bio Regional was the partner to Bicester Town Council in this project. This means that part of the house has been brought up to modern standards of insulation and double glazing, without compromising the period features.
Garth Park is the ‘Jewel in the Crown’ as far as parks and open spaces are concerned in Bicester! It boasts magnificent award winning formal gardens, a cafe , a stunning traditional bandstand, areas of informal open space, children’s play area and a well used skateboard park. Public toilets are available outside the cafe (please note, the cafe toilets are only for patrons).
The entrance to the park has magnificent wrought iron gates. At the entrance hangs a historic bell cast by Edward Hemins at the former Bicester Foundry in 1732. It used to be the call bell at the old Town Hall and Shambles until these were demolished in 1826. A six-rink Bowling Green and tennis court are leased to Bicester clubs.
The park hosts many activities and concerts, some free of charge. These activities in a typical year include a children’s activity day, musical concerts to suit all tastes, sometimes even a beer festival and various community events. It varies from year to year, so watch the events diary to see what’s coming up.