ABBEYSKATE returns to the 12th-century former Benedictine Abbey in Malmesbury for the eighth year in a row in February half term.

The abbey will once again be transformed for three days from a working church into a skatepark for hundreds of young people to enjoy from February 17.

This year, curate of Malmesbury Abbey and organiser Rev John Monaghan, is even adding a soft-play session for pre-schools on February 15 and 16 between 10.30am and 12.30am.

He said: “It is an action-packed three days, with age-appropriate skate and scoot sessions for people of all abilities.

“Once the competition is over, an army of volunteers removes the skatepark, returns the bales, takes up the floor and returns the chairs. Each year they attempt to beat the previous record, and/or try to make it to the local curry house before it closes at midnight.”

The skatepark is a collaboration between the Malmesbury Abbey congregation and the Nailsea-based Christian Skaters UK organisation.

Since it began in 2009, Abbeyskate has become one of the premier youth events in the West Country and last year more than 600 youngsters enjoyed the ramps, quarter pipes, grinding rails and trick boxes.

The event opens at 10am on Wednesday and runs all day and into the evening on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, with demonstrations from professional skaters and scooterers.

A grand competition on Friday night starting at 7pm will be the event’s finale, with prizes courtesy of a variety of different sponsors.

It's been amazing seeing the journey that some of the young people have been on over the past seven years of running Abbeyskate,” Rev Monaghan added.

“Many of them who arrived on the first year as young teenagers, are now helping out as part of the volunteer team, and it's amazing to see the positive role models that they are becoming to the younger teenagers and children.

“Success for us is about the small conversations with teenagers that make a big difference in their lives. It's about making a connection so that when we see them in town we can smile and say hi; it's about breaking down the barriers that young people have in relation to church buildings.”

For more information, or to book a session, parents and young people must visit