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Friday, May 27, 2022

Wiltshire road becomes a skate park after it cracks and buckles | UK news

They are generally to be found in urban areas, using purpose-built skate parks or scouting out suitable flights of steps, handrails and concrete slopes to try out their airborne stunts.

But a country road in Wiltshire has become an unlikely draw for skaters, skateboarders, BMX and scooter riders after it buckled and cracked in spectacular fashion, creating undulations and angles perfect for spins, jumps and flips.

Subsidence caused the B4069, near the village of Lyneham to break up last month, leaving it looking as if an earthquake had hit.

The police ordered motorists not to try to get through and a diversion was put in place. Wiltshire council has said rebuilding the road could take up to a year and cost more than £1m.

After images of the road were carried first in the local media, then nationally, thrill-seekers realised it could be an interesting makeshift skate park to practise their skills on.

Dozens have already tried out the site, leaping across the cracks, using the humps as ramps. Some have found ways of flipping off trees that have bent in towards the road while others use barriers brought in to block off the road as hurdles.

Scooter rider jumps
A scooter rider uses the buckled road as a ramp. Photograph: Adam Hughes/SWNS

Among those who have made the pilgrimage are Si Coburn and Ollie Jones, well-known figures in inline skating, who travelled from Gloucestershire to pit their skills against, or with, the road. Videos of their stunts on the B4069 have been posted online.

Wiltshire police had urged motorists to stay away, but had not thought to ask skaters to steer clear. The force warned: “As anyone living in the area of Lyneham, Dauntsey, Bradenstoke or the villages around will be aware, the B4069 at the Lyneham Banks is closed following the road subsiding.

“Unfortunately some drivers are ignoring the closure at the bottom of the hill and driving up the Banks. This could put the council workers who are working on the road in danger. The road is not passable at all, please do not ignore the closure thinking it doesn’t apply to you.”

The reason for the road cracking is not clear. One expert, the geotechnical specialist Clive Edmonds, told the magazine New Civil Engineer that the earth may have moved because of a buildup of pressure in groundwater held within the rock or soil.

Mark McClelland, the cabinet member for transport at Wiltshire council, said: “The road has suffered some major damage that will take a long time to fix, and at a significant cost that could run over £1m.

“We first have to establish the cause, and then the remedy. This is a major civil engineering project that could take into 2023 to resolve, so unfortunately people should be prepared for the closure to be in place for a long time to come.”

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