When I was asked to write this post last month, I thought of lots of different activities, but have kept them to within a few miles radius of Bedford. The county of Bedfordshire is rich and diverse in what it has to offer, and ‘bodacious’ Bedford has some of the best!
I went to an interesting tourism meeting recently that asked us to name 10 attractions in our town, so have recently done a blog post covering that, but this is different, this is for those with adrenalin, adventure and curiosity coursing through their veins! Those who want something just that little bit different.
1. I live in a village, three miles outside the town and on the very edge of our village is Twinwoods Business Park. There is a number of very interesting companies there, one of them being the successful F1 racing team, Red Bull. Another is Bodyflight and it boasts not one, but four, exhilarating activities.
You can fly through the air with the greatest of ease ~ when you’ve mastered the art, that is!
The second, Vertigo, is a leap of faith, literally! Vertigo is definitely not for the feint-hearted as you leap 30 metres from the top of the tower, experiencing freefall, before you gently touch down on the landing platform below. (Body-harness provided!)
The third evolved from the success of Vertigo and is called Swoop. Woo hoo; it’s an extreme 200 metre zip-wire, on which you can reach speeds in excess of 35mph before you touch down.
And fourthly, there is the FlowHouse ~ where you can flowboard! This combines all the best bits from surfing, wakeboarding, snowboarding and skate boarding, wrapping them neatly up into one new and exciting sport. Addictive!
And if all that is just too much, then you can chill out and relax, as there’s the hydrotherapy swimming pool, sauna, steam room and gym. There’s also the Bar & Grill which serves a range of food and drink throughout the day and into the evening. Great place.
2. How about walking with Wolves? The Anglian Wolf Society is situated just a couple of miles away. It’s a sanctuary for wolves and it also supports and raises funds for wolf conservation. The wolves are fully socialised to human beings and enjoy human company.
It’s a non-profit organisation and is run almost entirely by volunteers. The site is not open to the public, and to visit, you must pre-arrange the date and time.
It’s absolutely amazing just to stand and observe these magnificent creatures, but to walk with them is an experience that won’t be quickly forgotten.
You also have an option to ‘adopt’ a wolf for a year! What a great birthday present that would make for someone.
3. Along the same lines of conservation of the wild, is the Birds of Prey Centre at Shuttleworth. It is where the English School of Falconry is based and is a centre for captive breeding programmes with endangered species. You can spend time with those majestic kings of the sky ~ eagles.
Just some of the different species are, American Bald, Blue Chilean, Golden, African Fish and White Tailed Sea Eagles. Imagine what it must be like to hold you arm out and have an eagle land on it; or whichever bird you choose! There are more than 300 birds of prey, including many different species of hawks and owls.
And if you are a ‘night owl’ then that’s perfect as there are ‘Owls by Moonlight’ evenings too! Again, you can help with the conservation by sponsoring a bird of your choice.
4. Now back to something for the adrenalin junkies! I don’t know about you but I just love to drive a car to its full potential ~ the fastest ones I’ve driven are a Lamborghini Miura when I was in Italy and a beautiful 4.2 Jaguar E-type!
So for those of you who feel the need, the need for speed, look no further, here is PalmerSport.
Designed from scratch by former F1 driver Jonathan Palmer, Bedford Autodrome has four entirely distinct circuits and over five miles of track laid out across a 384 acre site.
The cars you can drive are amazing ~ BMW M3 GTP, Formula Jaguar, Porsche 911 JP3, Land Rover Defender, Renault Clio Cup and the fabulous Caterhams – the 7 Superlight and the 7 Superlight Duel. (Boy do they go! Test drove one at the HQ in Caterham.) If you have a day there, you get to drive all seven cars! There is also the Palmer Jaguar JP-LM, which is an optional super ride.
PalmerSport celebrates its twentieth anniversary this year, long may it race!
5. How about water sports? Box End Park is quite a new venture and already very successful. The purpose dug northern lake offers slalom boat tows with 1-2-1 training from experienced instructors, should you need them.
In the summer there is open air swimming and facilities for running and cycling. You can even pitch your caravan or camper van there. Enjoy yourself and keep fit at the same time!
The big bonus is the Corner 5 Restaurant & Bar. Corner 5 opens for lunch & dinner from Tuesday to Saturday and lunch on Sundays, and prides itself on a menu of seasonal, traditional English dishes with a modern twist. And the best is, its committed to sourcing and using foods & crafts produced in Bedfordshire http://www.tastesofbedfordshire.co.uk/