Going round the bend at Oakwood Theme Park…

Trying out one of Europe’s most loved wooden rollercoasters…

Oakwood Theme Park is fairly small but it has some great rides and is home to one of Europe’s most loved wooden rollercoasters, Megafobia. And on first sight of it, it was easy to see why.

It has an old school charm that you just don’t get from the new modern steel-framed ones. There’s something special about it – a retro feel like you’ve gone back in time. Like looking at a blueprint design of a rollercoaster before it gets completed. It’s such a shame that UK theme parks won’t even consider building wooden rollercoasters anymore. Bring them back I say! Anyway…

The park wasn’t busy, as we’d arrived first thing on a Thursday morning and the schools were back, so we decided to head straight for the aesthetically pleasing Megafobia to see if the ride was as good as it looked.

On reaching the front of the queue we were ushered straight onto the ride and realised we were the first riders of the day! Score! A few more people hopped on and we all waited eagerly as the operator did his last safety checks and strapped us in before sending us off up the steep incline to start the ride… 🙂

The ride was loud and bouncy in places, but absolutely hilarious! The views across the park were great too and when we made it back to the station the operator shouted,

‘Put your hands in the air if you want to go round again!’

Needless to say, everybody’s hands shot up and we were sent off for another bumpy giggle along the track. When we made it back the second time the queue had picked up so we had to get off but it was really nice that he’d give us an extra turn and we all left in good spirits. 🙂

The short queuing time became a theme for the day. I think the longest we queued was 10 minutes for the bobsleigh ride, which we only really went on for a laugh (and actually really liked – simple but fun!). 

Easily the fastest ride we went on was the appropriately named ‘Speed: No Limits‘ which we both really enjoyed. In fact we went on that again straight afterwards too, first on the back row and then we waited a turn to get on the front which definitely gives you a bit more of the wow factor as you go over the 97º vertical drop. It’s a bit like the Saw ride at Thorpe Park, which we’ve both been on before, but you get a bit more of an impact with Speed because the drop is a lot higher.

The split second view you get before you free fall towards the ground is massively exhilarating you just about get time to catch your breath for the next lift and drop and then you’re being hurtled around a good sized loop before finally being catapulted, with style, into the end zone. Definitely one to get the adrenaline pumping. 🙂

Speed ride at Oakwood

Speed ride at Oakwood

Surprisingly though it wasn’t one of the main rides that made us a little bit nervous but one of the tame kids rides! The ‘death defying’ near vertical slide aka the Moon Landing. Which really is nothing more than a high slide, except once you’re sat at the edge you can’t see the slide itself because it’s slightly inverted inwards so you just have to trust the fact that it’s there. It’s good for a laugh and a lot of people were chickening out at the top. In fact the lad that went after me and MrB managed to really bump his back and head which looked really painful so I wouldn’t recommend it for smaller kids, no matter how much they beg you. I think the height limit was 1m though so I guess they wouldn’t be too young, but let’s just say user discretion is advised.

We also went on a kiddies ride called Treetops which was actually quite good. Not fast or anything, it just had a really nice setting – through some pretty woodlands. Then we headed over to Bounce one of those ones where you’re all sat around in a square shape looking outwards and it shoots you up in the air. That was good fun but very short lived. 

The pedalos were calling us so we had a little paddle around the lake next to Megafobia where some cute little ducklings came to see if we had any food for them. Peddling past the awesome structure of Megafobia made up our minds that we had to go on it again for our last ride of the day, so we headed over to join the queue for one last chuckle. It was a good one to finish on as the ride was full and everyone really got into it, screaming and giggling in the right places. 🙂

Megafobia from pedalo

Megafobia from pedalo

We had hoped to go on the water rides but they didn’t open until 2pm and it was 12pm when we realised we’d been on everything we wanted to go on. It’s easy to get your money’s worth at Oakwood Theme Park, especially if you’re there in the middle of June on a Thursday!

Overall we had a great day out and would definitely recommend the experience for those looking for something different to do whilst holidaying in Wales.

Climbing the crags…

We joined the gang for a quick lunch break in Narberth and a few geocaches, namely, MMT4 – Alfie’s Den, MMT6 – Ziggy Star Dust and MMT7- Polly’s Pastures from the ‘Magical Mystery Tour’ although sadly all were in need of a bit of TLC which was a shame. Still, we knew we had a great cache coming up the Craggy, Canopy Cache which we really wanted to pick up for our D/T (Difficulty/Terrain) grid.

The drive to the cache ended up in us getting lost, when the sat nav stopped working. I stopped someone to ask for directions who spoke in a very thick Welsh accent, which we both struggled with, but his useful gesturing helped us to understand which way we needed to go, and after thanking him we made our way down some steep, narrow, windy roads towards GZ… 

It was very obvious when we got there where we would be going – and that was up…and quite a way up by the looks of things. It was obviously a popular climbing route as there was a rope in place to get you up to the main part of the crags and so we used it to begin our ascent.

The direct approach to GZ was impossible without climbing equipment and I was less than equipped in my jeans to be doing any real climbing so we started searching for an alternative route up and MrB soon found one off to the right.

Crag yoga

Crag yoga

It was steep but manageable and we all made it up onto the main part of the rock face where we began looking for the hint item. MrB and I climbed higher than we needed to and had to retreat back down when the ‘I found it’ cry came up.

I’ll admit it was very satisfying to get that one ticked off the list as it was quite a drive to get to and we weren’t sure whether we were going to have the right equipment for it, given the D/T rating, but thankfully it wasn’t too difficult in the end and we all made it back down safely!

Not wanting the adventure to stop there we headed off down the road to Valley View which had another high D/T rating (D3/T4.5) and should definitely have more finds. It’s in a great secluded location with a fantastic view.

Valley view cache

Valley view cache

The rating was a bit generous for the route we took, but as it says on the cache page there are two route options – we just took the easy one as we didn’t have climbing equipment necessary for the other direction. The easy route takes you past a spooky abandoned house and up a steep bank which requires a little bit of scrabbling at the end to get to the top. Great fun, and like I said the view is definitely worth it!

I had a look at the cache page just now and no-one’s been up to find it since we did which is a real shame, especially as I left a TB in there! Go rescue it guys! 🙂

Spooky abandoned house

Spooky abandoned house

Laugharne Castle and Dylan Thomas’ writing shed…

 

After all that excitement we still weren’t done with the day! Instead we drove down to Laugharne Castle. An area synonymous with the authors Dylan Thomas and Richard Hughes. Parking up in the car park next to the castle I spotted an ice cream seller and, of course, quickly succumbed…I felt we deserved it after all that climbing 🙂

Ice cream at Laugharne Castle

Ice cream at Laugharne Castle

We took the path around the back of the castle in search of Dylan Thomas’ writing shed and boathouse, and, more importantly, a geocache…well, it had been an hour or so since our last find and I was starting to get twitchy…!

The boathouse and writing shed were pretty but, unfortunately, closing as we arrived so we didn’t get a chance to have a peek around, which was a shame but it saved us a few bob I suppose!

Our legs were getting tired by this point having been on our feet all day but we figured that the circular walk we had earmarked wouldn’t be that far, and so we marched on towards Taf Treasure. Thankfully it was a quick find here and a good cache so we left a TB for the next finders. 🙂

There weren’t anymore caches until the main road, which seemed to be a hell of a long way, given our weary state. We weren’t even sure if we were heading in the right direction at one point, but eventually after a really long stretch up a winding hill we made it out to St Martin’s Church which also happens to be the resting place of Dylan Thomas. We located his grave and stopped for a minute to pay our respects.

Dylan Thomas' grave

Dylan Thomas’ grave

After walking around this very small stretch of coastline it was easy to see why Thomas loved it here. The views in all directions are very awe-inspiring and although he did suffer from writer’s block on occasions he often found that a trip down his local, Brown’s Hotel would soon get him back into the spirit of things, quite literally in most instances! We decided to pop in to see for ourselves what might have sparked his imagination

It’s a wonderfully cosy little pub with its wooden beams, stone walls, and pictures and memorabilia adorning the walls. The photo’s I took in there don’t really do it justice but check out the website from the link above for more details.

Read the last instalment of our tour around Pembroke to find out about my favourite place of the whole trip – the beautiful Bosherton lily ponds. 🙂

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  1. Pingback: Favourite geocaches: Dyfed, Wales | Travel MzAdventures

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