This month, I’ve been testing my head for heights at Woldingham Adventure, the new low and high ropes course created by Woldingham School, which is set in the stunning woodlands of Marden Park. The site covers 2,000 square feet, and the activities have been especially created to offer both children and adults the chance to challenge their balance and climbing skills.
Marden Park has 155 acres of ancient woodland, chalk grassland and newer planting, located on the slopes of the North Downs, close to Woldingham village. It’s an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, and is home to 25 species of butterflies, as well as deer, owls, red kites and badgers, plus a wide range of native trees and flowers.
I visited Woldingham Adventure with my two sons, who are 6 and 12, on a brisk autumn morning, where we began by meeting resident instructor Richard. He explained all the different aspects of the course to us, and demonstrated how the safety equipment, which comprised a harness belt, clips and a helmet, worked. Once we were fully kitted up, Richard took us to the start of our adventure. He then showed us how to use the trolley clips, which fixed us to the ropes, and helped us practice using them until we could attach and release them accurately. Only when he was sure we were completely prepared did he allow us to set off, and away we went!
I really like the way the course has been designed. You start off close to the ground, with little adventurers staying on the low course, completing challenges that are perfecting for building confidence. Older adventurers are able to work their way to the higher rope course, via a variety of suspended obstacles. These have all been given intriguing names, such as The Ninja, Buoy Maze, Floating Island and Void.
The ending is the most fun part: you travel through the trees using a series of zip wires, culminating in a fantastic 35ft slide back to the ground.
Being immersed in the woodland, following the nature trail, is a really lovely experience. My boys, being far greater daredevils than I am, were in their element as they worked out how to negotiate the ropes, and it was great to watch them having such fun whizzing around the wood.
If you and your colleagues are looking for an excuse to get out of the office, Woldingham Adventure hosts team building days, with exclusive use of the rope and zip wires courses. It can also cater for parties: its beautiful setting is the perfect place for children to celebrate their birthday after spending a couple of hours having fun in the treetops!
In the future, there are plans to offer bush craft activities too, where participants will spend time exploring the woodland, creating a shelter and roasting marshmallows over an open fire. I know that’s definitely something my kids will want to sign up for.
The next time I visit Woldingham Adventure, I am going to bring the rest of the Tandridge Independent team along. I wonder whether Andy and Rosalind will be brave enough to climb right to the top?!
I’d really like to thank Richard for his patience and expertise as he familiarised us with both the equipment and the course – we had a great time!
If you would like to have your own Woldingham Adventure, visit woldinghamadventure.co.uk. There is lots of information covering all aspects of your visit (including what to wear and how to find the free parking) and you can book online too.
(Above: Part of the course at Woldingham Adventure)