Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Get active on land in the West Country…

The West Country's stunning scenery isn't just for looking at. Many people like to use the rugged landscape, open moors and woody enclaves as an integral part of their active regime. Here’s a taste of the diverse activities on offer…

You can get your heart and your legs pumping on any number of cycle routes across Dartmoor. The landscape changes from mile to mile, so cycling is a great way to pack in as many sights as possible. There’s cycle hire for the whole family right on the Granite Way Cycle Trail. Rest your weary legs at Ludgate Cottage near Haytor Vale and admire the view.

Holidaying close to nature can bring out the ‘Ray Mears’ side in the best of us, so why not sign up to a bushcraft workshop on Exmoor? You can learn all the survival skills needed in order to spend a night in the woods and find out how some of the tricks used by our ancestors can still be applied today. Enjoy the home comforts at Melton House (pictured) in Dulverton at the end of your busy day.

Blokarting is a great way to whizz around the vast sandy beaches revealed when the tide is low in Cornwall. This sport, enjoyed from a tri-wheeled kart with a sail to catch wind power, is particularly popular at Perranporth, Gwithian and Watergate Bay on the north Cornwall coast. Let the wind out of your sails at Dale Cottage in the unspoilt town of St Agnes.

With its famous ponies, who wouldn't be inspired to explore Dartmoor on horse back? There are plenty of escorted horse rides ranging from gentle for the novice to adventurous for the more experienced. Stay at The Farmhouse on Burnville Farm near Lydford and there’s stabling and grazing for your own horses if you want to bring them with you.

If your little monkeys like the idea of swinging from trees, Go Ape is the place for you. Described as a ‘high-wire forest adventure’, this is a giant obstacle course up in the trees using ladders, walkways, zip wires, bridges and tunnels made of wood. Head back to terra firma and a pretty woodland walk at Cherries (pictured) in Olchard.

The Cheddar Gorge in Somerset is a must-see... but have you considered looking at it from a different angle? This is one of the few places in the country where you can just turn up and go rock climbing, abseiling and even caving beneath the Mendip Hills. There’s a soft landing and warm welcome at Glebe Cottage in Wookey.

It goes without saying that the West Country is ideal for walking with 630 miles of the South West Coast Path and expanses of spectacular moorland to discover. And then, of course, there’s fishing, golf, ballooning, falconry, clay pigeon shooting…

Something for everyone – what’s your idea of fun? Look out for our post later in the week on activities for all you water babies out there.