Ian Waller and his family enjoys a hugely enjoyable day out including archery, canoeing and a Tarzan trail
What a fantastic day! We’d fired arrows at balloons, danced liked loons, been chased by zombies in canoes and swung through the air while singing songs from the Jungle Book. Result!
The reason for such fun was a family day out at Brokerswood Country Park at Westbury in Wiltshire. Well, I say ‘family’ day out, but in fact it was actually only three, with Joe (five) being too young and Eve nursing a broken wrist courtesy of a roller-skating accident. Still, Dan (aged eight) and his parents, Ellen and I, were keen to have a go, so off we went.
Brokerswood is one of those places that we’d heard great things about but never actually visited. So having turned up at about 9.30 dressed in our best ‘let’s get muddy’ clothes, we were soon signed in and off for our first activity, archery. As to what was to become a pattern for the day, for each activity we were joined by a different group of parents and children, some visiting for the day, others staying at the Brokerswood campsite. Our instructors for the archery – and the canoeing, for that matter – were Joe and Rosie, who quite simply couldn’t have been any more welcoming, entertaining and professional. Divided up into groups of threes and four, we were soon given a demonstration by Ben before being let loose on the targets.
This was a right laugh. After a few goes each to get our aims just right, the fun really started with Ben asking us each to blow up a balloon, each of which was placed on the four targets. We all then took turns in trying to pop the balloons, meaning that whoever’s balloon went bang had to perform a dance of their choosing.
With the archery over there was time for a quick snack at the-on-site cafe before my favourite part of the day, the canoeing. Split into teams of two and following a thorough safety briefing, we were soon out on the water practicing our new skills. Ben was clearly well versed in the skills of keeping his clients entertained and he soon had us playing a type of canoe tag before two teams became zombies with the job of chasing down the others.
Our day came to an end with the Tarzan trail, where you’re invited to follow a trail of ropes, slacklines and swings going from tree to tree around the woodland. OK, I admit to not feeling massively comfortable on this for the first few minutes – it might only be 12ft up and a safety line means nothing bad can happen to you, but nobody told my brain that was the case, meaning that the first few obstacles were dealt with complete with a vice-like grip on safety wires. Dan meanwhile, was off and swinging around like a monkey at the fair and it was a joy to watch. In fact, Dan’s enthusiasm and carefree nature helped me to regain my confidence and by the end, we were swinging around together while singing hits from the Jungle Book.
By the time our day had come to an end, we came away from Brokerswood slightly wet, a little muddy and more than a bit tired but best of all, the grins and stories stayed with us for hours afterwards. We can’t wait to return for the survival weekend – perhaps those zombies will show up again…
Tickets: Archery and canoeing, £12 each, Tarzan Trail £14, all three together £32
Open: 21 March – 31 October
Further information: www.brokerswood.net