Forest of Dean Adventure!
Whenever we are in the planning stages for any of our trips I always look at what kind of adrenaline fuelled adventure activities there are available to take part in. I got in touch with the really helpful people at Forest of Dean and Wye Valley Tourism and they told me about Forest of Dean Adventure. Here you can have a go at archery, try taking on their climbing wall or tackle the adventure ropes which is what we were set to be doing.
I have to admit when I looked at their website I had a little nagging doubt in the back of my mind that it looked like it was aimed at younger people, maybe towards kids…and yes it is great for kids…BUT it is so much fun for adults too…filled with testing challenges, leaps of faith, and adrenaline!
First up was the Milk Crate Challenge where mil crates were passed up and stacked on top of each other in twos next to each other and you had to keep your balance on top of them! So this was a bit of a fun warm up but as it got higher and higher there was a moment of “What have I got myself into here!” legs trembling. It was funny when the crates inevitably collapsed and you floated back to ground!
Next up was the most difficult challenge, what seemed like the highest, and most definitely the biggest test of faith! We had to climb a ladder, onto a tree, climb up the tree using pegs knocked into the trunk and then step out onto an exposed wooden platform…and then…jump from the platform…and catch ourselves on a trapeze bar! This is when we realised that these activities were not going to be just a walk in the park!
As I stepped out into the platform it felt so high, so exposed, I could barely look anywhere except where my feet were! Making sure I had one hand steadying myself on the tree! Eventually I managed to lift my head up and look at the trapeze bar…there was no way I was going to be able to jump that far and catch myself on that!!! The youngest kid in the group (who appeared totally fearless!!) had been the only person to do it so far and I was last up. “No way” I shouted! But with a few encouraging words from our instructor and a big count down I jumped, threw my hands out and hoped for the best! Somehow I managed to catch all of my considerable self and hold on to the bar…no one was more surprised than me! It was a great feeling though. Sometimes on these kind of activities I get the feeling halfway through like “Hang on a minute, I’m not even enjoying this, just scaring myself silly!”. Then once I have pushed myself and gone through with it I’ve always felt awesome, such an adrenaline rush…the hardest part is always the most fun. Thankfully the bar held and I survived to continue the rest of the course! (Look out for a video of this and some of the other activities on Facebook and Twitter soon.)
This next challenge was my favourite of the three so far. I was first up…I had to climb up a tree again out onto a wooden platform…but not as high as the one for the trapeze challenge, then step out onto a tightrope like wire whilst making my way between six inflatable red balls!
It was like something from Gladiators or Ninja Warriors! It started off fairly comfortably with the balls and the rope they are attached to fairly easy to reach for the first couple, but then as the wire sunk under my weight the balls became further and further apart. It got to the point where I had to hit them to get them swinging and then try to catch them as they came within reach, I lost my balance a couple of times and at one point ended up almost running along the wire trying to keep my balance!
I think I managed four possibly five then I just could not reach the next one and lost my balance stretching for it. Unfortunately I dont think there was any footage of my fall! I did capture it on my GoPro though and will post the footage on social media soon once I have found the bleep button to edit out any swearing! I would really recommend a GoPro for anyone taking part in these kind of activities you can capture some very special and unexpected footage on them and they are so versatile and robust. I loved taking ours diving and got some great pics from the footage. Click the link above to check them out on Amazon.
Then it was the highlight, the zip line high through the trees. Again I had that moment when I had climbed to the top of the tree, stood out on the platform with our instructor and thought, hang on a minute…do I really want to be doing this? I think the instructor picked up on my nerves and had a chat with me…then asked the question “So are you going forwards, backwards, or upside down?” I needed no time to think about this “FORWARD!” he told me it was the fastest so that made me feel a bit better about my choice. It was brilliant, I had asked if I could hold onto the rope whilst standing on the ledge, but then as soon as I got going my hands shot out and it was such good fun!
The Forest of Dean Adventure is a huge amount of fun, our instructor was great, went through everything with us and we felt safe throughout, although I did almost maroon myself on the end of the zipline not concentrating and not doing what I had been told to! It nearly meant a 20 minute wait hanging by a harness in between my legs…I was so glad when I managed to free myself! The instructor was entertaining as well and added to the fun everyone had.
This really is something for anyone who has that little bit of a sense of adventure and is suitable for all ages (minimum age 8) a perfect activity for families as well as couples like us. At £20 per person as well for this much fun?? It is a big bargain!
We had a great time exploring the Forest of Dean and Wye Valley, an area I had not really spent much time in, but I will certainly be heading back more often now. If you haven’t caught them yet check out my posts on our stay at The Angel Hotel in Abergavenny, the AA hotel of the year Wales, and our adventures at Puzzlewood and the Sculpture Trail two of the most unique places I have ever visited in the UK, really beautiful. Two places which have really caught peoples imaginations on Social media and have generated a great response.
Look out for my next post on my trip to Switzerland booked with TripAdvisor where we went on an epic road trip taking in some of the most spectacular scenery in Europe!
Thanks again for reading and happy travels!