Capacity: 3,000 (Seats 300)
Address: Bristol Road, Chippenham, SN14 6LR
Telephone: 01249 650400
Pitch Type: Grass
Club Nickname: The Bluebirds
Year Ground Opened: 1919
Undersoil Heating: No
Home Kit: All Blue
Tucked away in a leafy part of town you could easily drive past Hardenhuish Park and not know it was there. The ground sits in the centre of a number of other sporting facilities, including cricket, tennis, bowls and hockey. In fact, you proceed along a meandering path, past the entrance to the Chippenham Sports Club to reach the entrance gates of Hardenhuish Park. Once inside you are presented with a hot potch mixture of stands. However, the ground has character and is pleasing to the eye, with plenty of trees and greenery on view around the outside perimeter.
On one side of the ground is the Main Stand. This small covered seated stand runs for around a third of the length of the pitch, straddling the half way line. It is unknown for sure when this was built, however judging by the unusual shape of the roof and supporting pillars, I would say that it is at least 1950's if not older. It contains four rows of seating and above is a glassed area which houses the club bar. The Main Stand has also been extended recently with the addition of a small prefabricated covered seated area to each side. Towards the open end of the ground there a few portakabins two of which have been stacked on top of one another. I believe one of these is used a corporate/Directors area. On the other side of the Main Stand there is a small portion of open terrace.
Opposite is a strange affair. A small covered standing area runs down the complete length of the pitch. It is comprised of a number of joining sections that descend as the pitch slopes downwards towards the Bristol Road End. It also a fair number of supporting pillars running across the front of it. The small team dugouts are located on this side, which is unusual considering the Main Stand and team dressing rooms are located on the other side of the pitch. At the Bristol Road End is a small prefabricated covered terrace which is only a few steps high. At the opposite end is a small open concrete terrace which comprises of three steps and is set back a little from the playing action. Beyond one corner of the ground can be seen a large white dome, which a multi-sport indoor facility. The ground has a set of eight floodlight pylons, four of which run down each side.
Normally games are not segregated at Hardenhuish Park. In the rare event that they are, then away fans are housed in the open terraced end. Around 450 fans can be accommodated in this area. If fans are not segregated then you can access the Blues Bar and Club Catering by the Main Stand. Food on offer includes; Double Cheeseburgers (£4), Cheeseburgers (£3), Double Burgers (£3.50), Burgers (£2.50), Hot Dogs (£3), Chips (£2), Sausage & Chips (£4.50) and Chip Butties (£2.50). Normally a relaxed and enjoyable day out.
There is a clubhouse inside the ground called the Blues Bar. It is located above the Main Stand and enjoys good views over Hardenhuish Park. Unless fans are segregated then the bar is open to all visitors and is also open at half time. Otherwise, there doesn't seem to be any pubs located near to the ground. Chippenham Town Centre is around a 15-20 minute walk away where there are plenty of pubs to be found. Close to the railway station, there is the CAMRA Good Beer Guide listed Old Road Tavern on Old Road. Whilst located in the Borough Parade Shopping Centre is a Wetherspoons outlet called the Bridge House.
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Leave the M4 at Junction 17 and take the A350 towards Chippenham. After around two and a half miles you will reach a roundabout (where there is a services area on one side). Take the first exit at the roundabout onto the B4158 towards the town centre. At the next traffic lights turn right onto Hardenhuish :Lane. At the bottom of Hardenhuish Lane you will reach a double mini roundabout, where at the first roundabout you take the first exit onto Bristol Road (signposted Town Centre).After a quarter of a mile you will reach a small car park on your left (look out for the blue Chippenham Town FC welcome sign). Just after the car park there is the entrance road to the Sports and Football Club.
There is no car parking available at the Club itself. There is the small car park which is mentioned above, that is free, otherwise street parking.
Chippenham Railway Station is located around three quarters a mile away from Hardenhuish Park and takes about 15 minutes to walk. The station is served by trains from London Paddington, Bristol Temple Meads, Southampton and Cheltenham Spa. Leave the station by the main entrance and at the top of the station approach turn right. Descend down Station Hill Road and at the bottom at the mini roundabout turn right onto New Road. Proceed under the railway bridge and then bear left onto Marshfield Road (the A420 signposted Bristol East). Keep straight on this road for around half a mile and shortly after it becomes Bristol Road, you will reach the ground entrance road on your right (look out for a small car park and Chippenham Sports/Football Club welcome signs at the entrance).
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Senior Citizens £7
Under 19's £3
An additional £1 transfer fee is payable inside the ground to access the seating areas.
Official Matchday Programme: £2
Bath City and Gloucester City.
4,800 v Chippenham United
Western League, 1951
2016-2017: 459 (Southern League Premier Division)
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Chippenham Town v Bath City
National League South
Saturday 23rd December 2017, 3pm
Myles Munsey (Groundhopper)
Reasons for visit
With the Christmas shopping done and work over for another year I had a blank day as it were in the run up to the festive season. For a number of personal reasons I had not been to a game for 15 months. It seemed an ideal time to resume. I’m not enamoured of ‘big money’ football any more so I thought a West Country local derby at Level 6 in the League Pyramid, within reasonable travelling distance would suit.
Chippenham are another Hungerford – a little known club performing adequately if not spectacularly at this level. And it is always nice to be the first to post a review of a club on this website.
A straightforward train journey from Newbury changing at Reading landed me at Chippenham at 13.45. The connection time at Reading allowed me to buy a packed lunch and consume it on the train – very civilised.
Hardenhuish Park, as this guide suggests, is set in an attractive area amid sports fields. I liked the fact that it was set back from the main road thus keeping it away from the traffic and giving it a slightly secluded feel. The outside of the stadium was welcoming with those lovely old turnstile booths and a quaint device on wheels serving club merchandise. In fact, I struggled to find anything modern at this ground. Did I like that!
Inside could be found a real hotchpotch of stands and terraces with good old-fashioned corrugated iron. You can’t beat it. Of note was the presence of three catering outlets (one temporary) which I did not use but did note the prices at the Blue Birds by the main entrance.
Burger £3 Double burger £4.50 Cheeseburger £3.50 Double Cheeseburger £5 Hot dog £3.50 Chips £3 Sausage and chips £4.50 Cheese buttie £2.50
Bordering the ground were a number of lofty trees mainly willow and pine. Again these gave the ground a nice feel.
Before the game
Arriving early as is my routine, there was time plenty of time to take photos inside and out for the guide. Surprisingly the time went quickly - it doesn’t always and though I bought a programme I didn’t have much chance to read it. It was a double header to save time and money so was printed for the Hungerford game as well. I did note that it was of a very high standard and stuffed full of facts and figures.
A Packed Bristol End
I was anticipating a good game and that’s what the crowd got. The attendance of 1,502 (impressive for this level) was boosted by a strong away following who sang merrily. Some tuneful and some rather colourful and not exactly appropriate to the season of goodwill. I watched the first half from the North side and the second half from the Open End and had a good view of the action throughout. It was dry but dull, with a cold breeze.
The first goal to the visitors on 11 minutes and scored by Tom Smith (a Swindon Town loanee) stemmed from a misplaced pass eagerly intercepted and fired with aplomb into the net. The second on 31 was a hotly disputed penalty after an intricate move had laid the home defence bare. Contact there may have been but the player fouled jumped like a scalded rabbit. Jack Compton’s penalty was nearly saved by the home keeper’s left arm, but trickled into the corner. 2-0 to the Romans at the interval. In the second half Bath kept pressing and were rewarded on 67 minutes when that man Smith again was cleverly put in by Opi Edwards and he made no mistake. 3-0.
It was an easy 15 minute stroll back to Chippenham station in time for the 17.25 back to Reading.
After a long time away from the game I was pleased to be back and my faith in the game has to some extent been restored. I will however stick to non-league and/or Scotland for the time-being thanks all the same. I certainly enjoyed the day amongst friendly people at a pleasant location with no issues.
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