A trip for Team Bumblebee to the lovely Greenwood Forest Family Park in Snowdonia, which has recently won The North Wales Chronicle award for top family attraction in North Wales for the 7th year running.
The grey drizzly day (come back heatwave all is forgiven) didn’t spoil the day; and having packed both suncream and wellies (we know the multiple weather systems of this part of the world well) we headed off into the forest.
When you arrive at Greenwood the blue badge parking is close to the entrance (turn right when you arrive) and we managed to get a space a stone’s throw from the entrance.
We received a warm welcome when we arrived at the entrance via level access from the car park. Entrance prices are £15.95 for adults and £15.40 for children 3+, you are entitled to a 50% discount for disabled visitors and their carers. You are provided with a map of the park, and in our case a really clear guide on how to use the Ride Assist pass on supervised rides (which you collect from the Acorn Gift Shop).
First a quick stop off to flex the muscles:
Followed by a dash for the Green Dragon Roller Coaster, the world’s only people-powered rollercoaster. The Ride Assist guide directs you to approach the ranger at the exit point, which is reached by a number of steps. If you are able to walk short distances and manage a fairly small number of steps, accessing the ride this way cuts out quite a long walk to the entrance, and of course the queues.
Calm faces before take-off:
Once you are on the rollercoaster hold on tight, it’s faster than it looks, but great for all ages. Loads of screaming and the obligatory unflattering photo on the 360 degree horizontal loop (only £2). If you have the Ride Assist pass you can go around again without having to leave the rollercoaster.
The walk up and down to this part of the forest is fairly steep, as are many of the areas around the forest and you will need to flex your muscles if pushing a pushchair or wheelchair. The paths are a mixture of tarmac and gravel but well-maintained.
Next up was the Great Green Run, a 70 metre (fast!) sledge run. Emily wouldn’t have been able to manage this ride as she would have to ride alone, but luckily the Little Green Run is right next to it. There is a slightly inclined path (with 1 small step) up to the top. It also gave us a good view of the boys terrified faces as they came down the big run…
We then decided to head to the Greenoak restaurant in the main building for some lunch and a warm-up. The food is really good, reasonably priced and served quickly, a bonus with a littlie who isn’t a big fan of sitting still, or even a big one who wants to get to the next ride. There are also picnic areas and snack bars dotted about the park.
After fortifying ourselves we decided it was time to take on Solar Splash, with it’s two 60 metre water slides and 91 metre tube slide (we chickened out of the tube slide…). There are separate queues for the two and the tube queue was noticeably shorter!
This ride can only really be accessed by visitors with a level of mobility as there are 64 steps to the top of the ride tower. This was my most nerve-wracking bit and the 3 of us surrounded Emily to get to the top. There was a casualty but luckily it was only my flip flop which I managed to almost lose on the steps on the way up (I had a similar incident at the Isle of Wight Needles cable car in 1981 so I’ve got form…).
The Solar Splash platform is pretty high, and although the views from the top are stunning, I wasn’t too keen to look down! I wouldn’t have felt confident waiting here with our wobbly escaper as it’s quite open, but using our Ride Assist pass we were able to move to the front of the queue before losing our nerve….
It’s a great ride (video available on my Instagram page!) and we then disembarked on wobbly legs to view the photos which were hilarious (and again only £2).
A short stroll (again up a relatively steep hill) to Moon Karts where you can ride on a single or double pedal-powered moonkart. I think the ‘child’ in this picture enjoyed themselves..
Just along from Moon Karts is Woodland Rovers, which is a new 4 x 4 driving course through a Woodland circuit. They both loved this and we had to go back a further 2 times! It’s £2 per car for the ride, one of the very few rides which has an additional cost, but is well worth it. Emily needed to be lifted in and out of the landrovers but was very happy to be a passenger making full use of the horn.
A trip downhill next to the Enchanted River Ride. You can use your Ride Assist pass to approach the ride by entering via the exit, with 1 small step down to the jetty. Again Emily needed to be lifted into the boat and it does rock slightly as you all sit down. A nice gentle ride through the forest using the oars and overhead ropes to help you (and on this occasion a bumper car ride with the boat in front who couldn’t quite grasp the directional requirements…)
There are lots of great activities and events at Greenwood including daily shows in the Forest theatre, den building, an indoor playbarn, face painting, miniature tractor rides, Dragon Maze, Archery, Magic Chair and Treetops Tower park. There is something for everyone, even if you’re not too much of an adrenaline junkie…
We didn’t brave some of the attractions because of the drizzly weather (including the Giant Jumper and Barefoot Trail) but plenty of hardy souls were squelching their way around and having a great time.
All in all a great family day out, even on a grey day. There are activities and rides for all ages, set in a lovely woodland setting. It’s easy to find your way around using child friendly maps and signs. There are special events and family fun evenings on throughout the season.
Although not all areas are accessible for visitors with a physical disability, the park are very open about this in their Access Statement, describing the partial access feel to the park. As much as possible is done to accommodate this with level access to indoor areas, well maintained paths and Ride Assist passes. There are some fairly steep hills to navigate and these may be difficult if pushing a manual wheelchair.
There were areas we knew Emily wouldn’t be able to access prior to our visit, but also knew there was plenty she would be able to access with our help. Days out for us always involve lifting Emily in and out of things, or helping her with various physical aspects so we didn’t mind this; and Greenwood do everything they can to make the forest as accessible as possible.
(It would be worth reading all the access information and contacting the park if you have a wheelchair user in your party just to ensure you can access as much as possible.)
There are disabled toilet facilities at Greenwood, and a lovely clean First Aid Room with a full size bed located in the shop which you are welcome to use. The nearest Changing Places facilities if you require a hoist are at Pilas Palas Nature World at Menai Bridge, approximately 4 miles away.
All the staff at Greenwood are really friendly and helpful, and you receive a very warm welcome.
And of course don’t forget your trip to the Acorn gift shop with level access as you leave, the highlight of any attraction we visit with our 2…
So pack your suncream and wellies and head down to this beautiful corner of North Wales, only an hour from Chester and easily accessed by the A55. Even better head down for a holiday in the beautiful Snowdonia area (OK I’m biased) and see the numerous attractions this special part of the world has which will keep you and the whole family happy. Visit at any time of the year and you will always find plenty to do. Happy Holidays!
We were kindly invited by Mark and the team to visit Greenwood for the day and take a look at the disabled access and facilities. All views and opinions expressed are those of the Bumblebee team!