Work on the new structure is well under way!

Work on the structure of the new Leisure Centre is gathering pace now and we are following its progress regularly and will keep you updated on all our social media channels with all the latest developments right up until the grand opening in April 2022!

Work has also just begun to convert the lorry park at Seven Brethren into a new, larger car park to serve the New Tarka Leisure Centre, Tarka Tennis Centre and Falcons Gymnastics Academy.

The works are not expected to cause disruption to the existing car parking arrangements and lorries are asked to now use the new lorry and van park located adjacent to the old lorry park.

Work begins on North Devon’s new leisure centre

Construction of the new state of the art Tarka Leisure Centre in Barnstaple has moved one step closer this month, as contractors begin work on site.

Construction of the new state of the art Tarka Leisure Centre in Barnstaple has moved one step closer this month, as contractors begin work on site.

Parkwood Leisure has been appointed as the official contractor for the £15 million leisure centre which will be built on the site adjacent to Tarka Tennis Centre in Barnstaple. The project is being funded by North Devon Council, Sport England and the Coastal Communities Fund.

The centre will be constructed by Speller Metcalfe, with an expected completion date of Spring 2022 and will feature:

  • 25m eight-lane competition swimming pool with movable floor
  • 20m four-lane learner pool with movable floor
  • sports hall with four badminton courts
  • large gym
  • two multi-purpose exercise studios
  • spinning studio with virtual experience
  • Devon’s first endless ski slope for indoor skiing, snowboarding and tobogganing
  • indoor soft play
  • outdoor play area
  • new reception area and cafe

Leader of North Devon Council, Councillor David Worden says: “This significant investment will create outstanding new facilities for the town and surrounding communities and there is a real sense of anticipation as we mark the start of this work.

The current leisure centre is now at the end of it’s commercial life and in need of replacement. The landmark new centre will be a focal point not just for local residents but for visitors from further afield and will add to the area’s tourism offer. I’d also like to reassure people that Tarka Tennis Centre, Falcons Gymnastics Academy and North Devon Leisure Centre will all remain open throughout the build.”

Chairman of the Council, Councillor Frank Biederman, says: One of the council’s key aims is to get more people, of all ages involved in physical activity to improve and maintain a healthy lifestyle. The new centre has been designed after consultation with existing users and this is reflected in the facility mix. We have movable floors in both pools to cater for the extra depth our surf life-saving clubs and water polo players require and has two additional lanes in the main pool to accommodate more casual swimmers.

We have also improved facilities for disabled users, with state of the art “pool pods” which allow a more dignified form of entry into the pools for those with mobility difficulties.”

Glen Hall, Managing Director of Parkwood Leisure says: “Tarka Leisure Centre is a project that we’re really excited about; we know the local area is in need of improved leisure provision and the new facility will provide a hub for the local community to enjoy for many years to come. We have a longstanding relationship with North Devon Council, and we can’t wait to see our collective plans come together to deliver something truly unique for the region.”

Rob Lashford, regional director for Speller Metcalfe, says: “It is extremely important to us that this scheme benefits the local community, not only as an exciting new leisure centre, but by providing employment opportunities to local businesses throughout its construction – something we know is more important than ever after the challenging few months businesses up and down the country have faced.”

Sport England has provided £1.75m of National Lottery funding towards the project and £1.5m has been granted by the Coastal Communities Fund. Contributions from local housing developments have also been put towards the build costs.

Follow the progress of the new leisure centre project by signing up to the council’s blog or look out for updates on Facebook (@northdevoncouncil) or Twitter (@ndevoncouncil).

North Devon Leisure facilities to begin re-opening from Saturday 25 July

Parkwood Leisure are re-opening North Devon leisure facilities

  • North Devon Council’s partner, Parkwood Leisure will be opening their facilities with a phased approach starting from 25 July
  • Opening times will be reduced in comparison to normal, please check the website for accurate opening times
  • All activities must be pre-booked, no walk-ins allowed
Phase 1 (Saturday 25 July 2020):
  • North Devon Leisure Centre will re-open the gym and a large proportion of fitness classes. The pool will remain closed for now.
  • Tarka Tennis Centre will re-open all tennis courts inside and outside
  • Ilfracombe Pool and Fitness Centre will open the gym. The pool will remain closed for now.
Phase 1b (Saturday 1 August 2020):
  • Tarka Tennis Centre will re-open the artificial grass pitch
Phase 2 (date to be confirmed – late August 2020):
  • North Devon Leisure Centre to re-open some sports hall activities and squash.
Phase 3 (date to be confirmed – September 2020):
  • Swimming Pools to re-open at North Devon Leisure Centre and Ilfracombe.

Parkwood Leisure have got all the information on their re-openings at search via postcode and choose the centre you want for full details of opening and timetable.

What measures Parkwood have put in place What Parkwood are asking customers to do

First look at new leisure centre design as contract is awarded.

We are so excited to announce that the contract to design, build and manage the new leisure centre has been awarded to Parkwood Leisure Ltd.

Construction is expected to begin in Spring 2020 and be completed by Autumn 2022.

The design of the new centre will include:

  • 25m eight-lane pool and 20m four-lane learner pool, both with movable floors, spectator seating and competition timing system
  • sports hall with four courts, suitable for various sports
  • a large gym
  • three exercise studios, two with virtual technology
  • Devon’s first endless ski slope for indoor skiing, snowboarding and tobogganing
  • indoor soft play and outdoor play area,
  • a new reception area and cafe serving both the leisure and tennis centre with a view of the pools, ski area, sports hall and play areas

Parkwood will be sub-contracting the contract to its subsiduary company, Lex Leisure.

The new leisure contract is also good news for Ilfracombe as the existing swimming pool and fitness centre are included in the 20 year operating contract.


The new artificial grass pitch is ready

Tarka AGP 3.9.19

We’re very excited to announce that our new artificial grass pitch (AGP) will be opening to the public on Monday 9 September.

It is the only full sized, floodlit artificial grass pitch in North Devon and Torridge licensed with the Football Association (FA) for formal match play and has been built following successful bids from the Premier League, FA Facilities Fund, North Devon Council Capital Funding and Devon County Council Investing in Devon Funding.

Devon County FA are working in partnership with the council and our leisure operator, LEX Leisure to run some very exciting new leagues. 

Any clubs wishing to host formal matches on the pitch will be offered a discounted price.  There is currently availability for teams to play on Saturday afternoons and all day on Sundays:

  • £60 for 11v11 matches (2 hour slot)
  • £35 for youth 9v9 matches (90 minute slot)
  • £20 for youth 7v7 matches (1 hour slot) and £10 for youth 5v5 matches (1 hour slot).

Midweek training slots are already heavily booked but there is still availability for 9-10pm on Monday and Tuesday, 6-7pm on Wednesday and 5-7pm on Friday, please call or email Tarka Tennis Centre for more details.

To make a booking, contact LEX Leisure, by emailing or calling 01271 377701 to discuss availability.

Work on Barnstaple’s new artificial grass pitch has reached the halfway mark

Work to build the new Artificial Grass Pitch (AGP) at Tarka Tennis Centre is now 50% complete, and a completion date of 13 September has been announced.

The new full-size floodlit AGP will be the only full-sized artificial pitch in North Devon and Torridge licensed with the Football Association (FA) for formal match play.

We’ve been blown away by the response from the number of clubs looking to train at the venue and the majority of midweek evening training slots are already fully booked.  Don’t panic though, as there is still some availability, especially in the 9pm-10pm slots and at the weekends.  So any groups who are still keen to book a slot are being urged to email

The other great news is that an exciting new North Devon Youth League is being planned for under 18s 9-a-side matches.  Matches will be played once a fortnight on Friday evenings and the league will be affiliated to the Devon FA.

The league organisers are looking for a minimum of four and a maximum of eight teams to join initially.  Players can be from under 18s, under 17s and under 16s year bands. Anyone interested in putting a team forward for the league can contact Pete Evans at or telephone 01237 238325. 

The project has been made possible following successful funding bids to The Premier League and FA Facilities Fund and Devon County Council. Funding has also been allocated by North Devon Council using S106 funding (money paid by developers as part of the planning conditions of planning applications).

We’ll update you with more photos as work progresses.


Sport England funding success!

We are so excited to announce that we’ve been awarded £1.75m of National Lottery funding from Sport England towards our project for a new pool and leisure facilities.

With this funding in place we have now requested final tenders from the leisure operators who are currently vying for the contract to design, build and manage the new leisure centre at Seven Brethren.

We have asked for tenders to include a minimum of a 25 metre eight-lane pool, learner pool, sports hall, fitness suite and exercise studios on land adjoining the tennis centre. The exact design and final mix of facilities will be determined by the leisure operator who wins the contract, as long as they meet our minimum requirements.

The contract will also include operating Tarka Tennis Centre and Ilfracombe Pool and Fitness Centre for the next 20 years. We expect to select the successful leisure operator the next month, so watch this space!