Exciting new attraction in our neck of the woods!

Exciting new attraction in our neck of the woods!

MONKEY business is proving to be big business for Go Ape who have unveiled the latest of their new tree-top attractions in our ‘neck of the woods,’ bringing the excitement closer to home.

And, for my two experienced young adventurers, it was time to swing into action and put Coventry’s brand new course to the ultimate test.

Go Ape
Daniel and James Chalmers prepare to ‘Go Ape.’

Set in 500 acres of historic woodlands at Coombe Abbey Country Park, there is no shortage of excitement – but also with a choice of courses for different thrill levels.

My sons, aged 18 and 14, took part in the Tree Top Challenge which is open to all experience levels (over 1.4 metres). But this doesn’t mean it’s a pushover for the more confident adventurers as there’s a mix of crossings cleverly designed to test everyone’s limits.

So if you’re supervising someone younger, you’re not restricted to following in all their footsteps as the crossings do split off in various places offering different challenge levels while reuniting at the other end.

And, despite traversing a few of Go Ape’s 35 courses over the years, the boys were delighted by Coombe’s refreshingly new elements, such as Plummet – a vertical drop from a 12-metre-high platform; a dual Tarzan swing and the exclusive Alpine zip-to-zip – a series of zip wires. Exclusive to Coventry, this feature soon has you swinging through trees with abandon, culminating in a 200m double zip course landing.


The zip to zip provides a thrilling finale to a course that, in my opinion, helps Coombe stand out from the others we’ve experienced.

It only opened to the public earlier this month and on our visit there was evidence of work still being finished (not the course itself don’t worry!)

Look out for news of what’s still to come – The Tree Top Adventure (for all ages over 1 metre) and Tree Top Adventure + (for six plus and over 1.2 metres). Sessions for these are available to book from May 4th and both courses last for one hour in duration.

But it’s the Tree Top Challenge that does what it says on the tin. For those who want to challenge themselves – and in all likeliness – try something new – this is the one for you.

And there’s currently some good deals to be had if you book ahead here. . . https://goape.co.uk/days-out/midlands/coventry

With the summer months around the corner there are few better ways to spend your free time than appreciating a bird’s eye view from the canopies of beautiful Coombe Abbey Country Park.

So swing on by, you won’t regret it.

Gentle pedals. . . big steps!

Gentle pedals. . . big steps!

IT’S been three weeks since I brought home my first electric bike, courtesy of the new Electric Bike Shop at Hatton Adventure World.

The bad news is, I’ve struggled to find the time to get out on it as often as I’d hoped.

The good news is, my relationship with e-bikes is such already that I know the situation will improve  – I’m eager for it to do so.

Amanda Chalmers

You see, this has been somewhat of a mini revelation for me, to the extent where I’m afraid to say three’s now a crowd. And I think it’s time for my traditional road bike and I to part ways.

Purchased as a birthday gift around 10 years ago, the intention was genuine – to hit the road every weekend and transform my deteriorating fitness levels back to something approaching at least average for my age. Genuine or not, I don’t think it left the garage more than a couple of times, but putting the brakes on my cycling days was like admitting defeat to the ageing process.

I now realise, as an e-biker (probably haven’t quite earned the right to call myself that yet, but let’s go with it. . .) that the journey back to increased fitness doesn’t have to be an arduous and painful one.  

The logic is simple – if you’re using your e-bike to do something that you wouldn’t otherwise be able to do, it carries great long term mental and physical health benefits. E-bikes can get older or less fit folk cycling again – and that’s what I feel it is doing for me. Without it I can either keep living the lie that my road bike will ever see any traction again in the coming years – or throw my (not insubstantial) weight behind a new biking chapter. . . a chapter that makes cycling enjoyable again, while gradually and gently rebuilding my fitness levels.

Well, you have to start somewhere!

The sunny Easter holidays enticed me out and, in a short time, my confidence in handling the bike and ability to get the best out of it, is improving. I’m keeping distances short at the moment but plan to build on that, especially as the summer months break through.

And thanks to advances in technology e-bikes now last longer between charges (some modern models can last for up to 110 miles on a single charge) so there is nothing to be nervous about when I do decide to tackle the further flung destinations.

And when you do need to charge your bike – what better excuse for a well-earned refreshment stop while the friendly pub’s plug socket does its thing.

The popularity of e-bikes is massively on the rise and it’s widely predicted they will outsell road bikes within five years. – They already do in The Netherlands!

If you’re older, unfit, recovering from an injury or illness or simply lacking in cycling confidence, the arguments for investing in an e-bike are cumulative.

That’s all very well, you say. “Sounds perfect. But they don’t come cheap!”

E-bike prices tend to start at around £1,000 (and up to several thousands) which is undoubtedly heavier on the pocket than a traditional bike. But in the long run they can actually be the most cost-effective option. That’s because an e-bike is more convenient so you’re likely to use it more often.

Cycling instead of driving – even for short commutes – brings big savings on the costs of running a car, including fuel, parking and depreciation caused by wear and tear.

It’s also worth noting that the Government’s Cycle to Work Scheme allows you to save up to 42% off your e-bike. Click here for more information.

Included in part 3 of my blog COMING SOON are the subjects of security and maintenance.

Read Part 1 of my blog here

Read about the new Electric Bike Shop in Hatton plus an interview with Karl Haden here


Warwick charity brings Easter cheer

Warwick charity brings Easter cheer

SEVEN HUNDRED Easter eggs were delivered to community nursing teams in Warwick and Birmingham this week by Hatton-based charity Molly Olly’s Wishes.


Community nurses at Warwick Hospital receive their Easter eggs on behalf of the children in their care

The chocolate eggs were donated by Leamington businesses Gap Professional Recruitment and Grupo Antolin.

The Molly Olly team visited community nursing teams in Warwick, Southam and Birmingham from where the nurses will then distribute the eggs to seriously ill children and their siblings in the local community. The deliveries were supported by Warwick courier firm New Horizon Logistics.

Molly Olly’s Wishes was established in 2011 following the death of Rachel and Tim Ollerenshaw’s eight-year-old daughter Molly from a rare kidney cancer. It works to support children with terminal or life-limiting illnesses and their families and help with their emotional wellbeing, grants wishes and donates therapeutic toys and books to both children directly and to hospitals throughout the UK.

Community nurses in Birmingham receive eggs for the children in their care.

Charity founder Rachel Ollerenshaw said: “We had a great day delivering and the community nursing teams in Birmingham were delighted to see us as they rarely, if ever, receive such donations.

“Molly Olly’s have been supported by the team at Gap Professional (formerly Quattro Recruitment) for several years and we are very grateful to them for all the work organising collection of the eggs. Big thanks too to everyone at Grupo Antolin and New Horizon Logistics for their incredible support. There were so many smiles and happy faces, we are delighted to be able to help.“


To donate click here 

Inspiring teenager’s charity event for Uganda

Inspiring teenager’s charity event for Uganda

AN enterprising teenager from Warwick is organising a charity event to fund her month-long trip to help build a playground in Uganda.

Emily Parsons
Emily Parsons

Nineteen-year-old Emily Parsons is joining the Uganda Volunteer Project in July, organised by charity East African Playgrounds, which supports children’s cognitive development through play.

To help raise the £800 she needs, the former Aylesford Sixth former, who is now studying at Manchester University, is organising a charity gin tasting event supported by Moores of Warwick.

The event takes place at Hatton Park Community Centre, on April 27th, between 7.30-10pm and will include a presentation by the new distillery’s owners Lorraine and Martin Moore.

Lorraine said: “We are happy to get involved in this event – it is great to see a young person raising funds so that she can go and help others. We are very lucky to live in a community such as we do, children have playgrounds where they can play safely. Emily intends to volunteer her time and skills to go to help others who might not be so fortunate.”

Uganda, Emily Parsons

Emily, from Hatton Park, said: “As well as being an amazing opportunity I am hoping this trip will link with the type of work I want to do in the future. I am currently studying international disaster management and humanitarian response, so believe there is a strong connection to be made here.”

Tickets cost £10 which can be purchased at: parsons.b1@sky.com

Further details at: www.eastafricanplaygrounds.org/fundraisers/emily-volunteers-in-uganda-2019

Moores of Warwick opened its doors at Hatton Adventure World a few weeks ago. To learn more about it click here

A world first teaching concept in a class of its own

A world first teaching concept in a class of its own

A PIONEERING Warwickshire entrepreneur is breaking down the barriers around Maths education by launching what is believed to be the first teaching aid of its kind in the world.

Tutor In a Box

Mathematician Sophie Parker’s new postal Tutor In A Box learning and revision aid is the first to be geared to GCSE-aged students.

The boxes, which are aligned to the National Curriculum, are designed to complement classroom learning and contain fun resources including stationery, games, badges and even confectionery. They are also tied in to a virtual learning programme which gives them access to on-demand webinars and an around-the-clock Facebook community group.

With exams season looming, Sophie has already seen the difference her concept has made to young people across the country who have traditionally struggled with the subject at school.

Sophie Parker
Sophie Parker

The 27-year-old Maths tutor, from Leamington Spa, said people liked the ‘positivity’ and ‘fun’ element of the box; which breaks from the norm.

She said: “Maths should be fun, engaging and interactive. A lot of students think they can’t do it and they’re afraid to pick up the pen and have a go because they worry they’ll get it wrong. It’s a confidence issue more than anything. When students get those lightbulb moments it’s amazing! They’ve understood it and feel good about the subject. I designed the resources to help everybody, everywhere to have those lightbulb moments and realise they CAN do Maths. “

She added: “A lot of the students I saw were doing fine in their lessons at school but didn’t have structure around homework and I ended up creating a lot of resources to help them.

“I also realised that there were other students who could benefit from the resources – students who were already motivated but didn’t necessarily need a tutor and students whose parents couldn’t afford a tutor but needed some work to be getting on with outside of the classroom that was enjoyable.”

Nine Maths topics

There are nine Maths topics covered by the boxes, which can be ordered as one-offs or via a six- or 12-monthly subscription:­ Algebra, Angles, Compound Interest, Correlation and Sampling, Fractions, Graphs, Indices, Probability, Pythagoras and Ratios. Each contains relevant worksheets along with complementary fun and engaging resources.

”All of the exercises are designed to be fun – such as eating marshmallows to learn about interest, or matching up magnetic fractions to learn about proportions. ” Sophie said.

A former statistician, Sophie was named Educator of the Year at this year’s Pride of Stratford Awards, organised by Touch FM. If her business takes off Sophie has plans to roll it out to other subject areas by collaborating with tutors in the fields of English and Science.

She said: “It’s a brand new concept. There is nobody that does what we do out there for GCSE-aged children. Just a revision guide on a piece of paper is long gone – students need something fun and engaging with online content and that’s where we come in.

“There are some great Maths teachers out there changing the way Maths is being taught. The issue is teachers don’t have the time or resources to make every single lesson more engaging and relevant to real life – so that’s where Tutor In A Box comes in. It’s designed to support all the good work teachers do – at an affordable price and a convenient time.”

Danni Cleeve, a Year Eight student from Stratford-upon-Avon, is among the first children to try the box.

Her mum Gill said: “My daughter was very excited about opening the beautifully presented box and we were both very impressed by the quality of the contents. The first thing she spotted was the ‘I love Maths’ badge pack, she loved these. The next item was Numenko in a Bag, this is a number game where we as the players work independently, the same time as everyone else, building our own equations, and competing to use all of our allotted tiles the fastest! It’s a lot of fun.

“Also, in the box there were some motivational cards, coloured pencils, a daily Maths calendar with Maths questions and of course some Maths lessons, all laid out in a fun and very thoughtful way.

“These lessons have already greatly improved both mine and my daughter’s understanding of some important math topics. Now if I could just find a time machine to take me back to my school years, I would definitely find maths more enjoyable.”

Details at www.tutorinabox.co.uk