This Easter, Go Ape at Coombe Abbey country Park is opening. I was lucky to be invited along for a preview of the course on Friday with other press and bloggers from in and around Coventry.
Coombe Abbey is a beautiful country park on the outskirts of Coventry, which is a wonderful place to go for a country walk, do a bit of bird watching, or just relax. It has good network of paths, and is popular with families and dog walkers. It has a small array of shops near the car park, a wonderful play area and picnic benches and a cafe.
The park is also home to Coombe Abbey Hotel, which has long been considered one of the Best hotels in Coventry. This stunning hotel offers events like medieval banquets, host regular weddings, and is known local as a great venue for Afternoon tea.
Although there is a bus (no. 585) that goes to Coombe Abbey from the centre of Coventry, I decided to use an Uber to Get there. It cost £8.21 to get there, and was easy for the two of us (although the car could have seated up to 4 people.) It must be noted, that the Uber on the way back was not as easy, and took nearly 15mins to book one as every time we tried thhe driver kept cancelling.) IF you drive, there is a big car park, and parking is £3.
After that, walk past the visitor centre, past the Duck feeding area which gives wonderful views of the hotel, and over a wooden humpbacked bridge to the entrance of the course.
When we were there, the site was still under construction, so that we checked in to a reception within a portacabin, but there was a lovely wooden cabin under constuction just by the bridge.
We gathered in a group, and were all handed a harness and instructed how to put it on. Then the instructor went around and fitted each persons harness properly. our instructor Sam, was very clear and informative in the briefing, and had moved from another site elsewhere in the country to be part of the Coventry site. He was really good at explaining what we needed to do. He then took us around a mini course about 1/2m off the ground, so that we could be sure we knew how the safety systems worked.
As someone who has worked within the technical side of theatre, I know how important it is to instruct people of the importance of safety systems, the upkeep and uses of equipment when working at Height. The staff were professional, enthusiastic and meticulous. I was very happy to note how much care was taken.
Next we went to the beginners course, which was pretty easy, and not very high. As someone who is not overly keen on unstable heights, I was relieved to find that we were eased into the experience. Plus there were a few people who admitted to be scared of heights, and pushed through their fear and enjoyed their experience!
I did all the courses that I was offered (6, 7 and 8), but decided that I didn’t want to do the 12m vertical drop. This was done by others in the group, and they stepped off a platform and dropped vertically towards the ground, and a bungie cord then took their weight, lowering them down to the ground. People seemed to really enjoy this challenge, but I decided it was just one thing too much for me.
Course 6: the Adult beginners course. Not very high, and a good ease into the systems.
Course 7: a medium difficulty course. This is much longer, and higher then the other. was complicated bits, but nothing that was unbeatable.
Course 8: this course started with the Tarzan swing, a long rope swing into a cargo net, followed by a more complicated course which contains many more ziplines and challenging obstacles. Longer obstacles and much higher off the ground. I loved the Ziplines, and the views from this course, but was quite tired by the end!
Although I have done similar things when I was a teen growing up in the Lake District, this was more then 15 years ago. The planning, the location and the overall entertainment value was very good. It was so much fun, and I’d highly recommend it to anyone who is up for a challenge! I found that although I am not the fittest of people I coped with most of the course without a problem ( the Tarzan swing cargo net was the biggest challenge! But an alternative route is offered). I would love to got again, and my cousin has already booked me to go with him, as his parents are not up for the challenge!
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