An unused, overgrown and poorly maintained area of the park was transformed into an exciting mini road system featuring traffic signs and road markings, where children can enjoy learning to improve their cycling and road sense skills in a safe environment; providing free access to all, and was designed to ensure that access is available for those with disabilities who wish to use this feature. This new feature in Townhill Park was designed to engage parents and grandparents with their children and to encourage the community and visitors to socialise, play and learn together. More widely we see the project as contributing to a key outcome of Fife’s Community Plan, i.e. – Improving Health and Wellbeing in Fife. By making the park a more attractive place with new features we hope to encourage the number of people using the park and its facilities contributing to a more healthy and active life style for all. This project provides a safe environment where all children can learn bicycle skills, increase their confidence, exercise and play on 2 metre wide roadways with small bicycles and have fun learning road sense. For safety reasons this is a one way system. The area is designed to include contoured landscaping and seating to allow parents to relax and sit and watch their children play and is surrounded by fencing to keep dogs out in keeping with the fencing around the existing children’s play area.
We feel that we have created an exciting and fun project which encourages children to engage in physical exercise in keeping with NHS guidelines that children should exercise for at least one hour a day. Physical activity in childhood is important is because it helps children to maintain a healthy weight. But that's not the only reason: physical activity is part of the way children discover the world, and themselves. It helps build strong muscles and healthy bones, as well as improves self-confidence. Townhill Park is bordered by the National Cycle Network which integrates with the new Bikeability projects throughout Fife; therefore this new facility will naturally interface young cyclists with the expanding cycle routes once they have improved their cycling skills and confidence. As a community council, we have purchased cycles and safety helmets and have also had cycles donated (including a tricycle for any physically challenged children) so that any children who do not own a bicycle of their own can still take part in Bikeability training free of charge which is taught by our local school, Townhill Primary. Since this facility was opened on 1st November by Dunfermline Provost Jim Leishman and Townhill Primary School pupils Alice Ogg and Lucas Robinson, it has been in constant use and not only by local children. Parents from all over Fife have been bringing their children to learn to ride their bicycles here. No matter the weather, the children come. We have also had many enquiries from other communities in Scotland, England and Wales asking how we achieved this as they would like to recreate it in their own parks.