I remember the first time I went to Delamere Forest. At that point city life had left me starved for forests and greenery. Cue Delamere Forest. The first time I went was pure bliss. I realised how much I had missed the tranquility, sounds and smells of a forest. Fast forward a year and I was back in Delamere. Except this time I was riding a Segway for the first time in my life. Now, I will be the first to admit that I am not very adventurous. As a matter of fact, I’m very careful. I won’t even ride a bike if I can’t reach the ground with both feet.
I’m sure you can therefore appreciate my hesitation when I was faced with the prospect of riding a Segway in forest terrain. But needs must and I found myself standing on a Segway in the middle of Delamere Forest one chilly August afternoon. If not now, then when?
Getting to Delamere Forest
First things first though. Delamere is easily accessible by train from Chester or Manchester. An open return ticket at off-peak times from Manchester will cost you about £11 and the same from Chester is £6.30. The forest is within walking distance of the train station. For those that drive, there is a fair bit of parking space available.
Go Ape Segway Tours
Segway tours of Delamere Forest are arranged by Go Ape, an adventure activities company that operates across the UK. For approximately £35 you spend an hour riding around the forest. Thankfully, for beginners like me this includes a safety introduction and test drive in an enclosed area. The Segways are self-balancing and you also get to wear a very chic bike helmet.
They start by showing you how to mount and dismount the Segway safely and how to maneuver it. After a very shaky start I successfully completed the little test drive. Shout out to the staff for instilling confidence in me at this point. If you do not feel comfortable after the test drive you can choose to get a full refund.
After the safety demonstration and test drive you are allowed onto the public pathways. In my group we were probably about 20 people and had one instructor at the front and one at the back to look out for stragglers. The terrain is initially fairly smooth and the group was going reasonably fast. When I say the group, I mean everyone in front of me. My mantra was slow and steady wins the race.
I did really enjoy the ride though and began to relax after a while (I even sped up…just a little). It is a lovely and unusual way of seeing the forest and it’s funny to see people’s reaction to the random long line of Segways. The Segways are actually quite easy to ride once you get over the initial hesitation to lean forwards and backwards. Beware though, this is a proper workout for your calves as they do a lot of the balancing. The trickiest part of the tour was a steep downwards hill full of roots and rocks. Slow and steady definitely wins the race here. One of the guys behind me fell off at this point but he mostly laughed it off, good chap.
After an hour you get back to the station and get a certificate to say that you’ve conquered forest Segway. This is also the time to take any group photos, which the awesome staff will help you with. I arrived very nervous but left pretty chuffed with myself (and with very sore calves). If you get the chance to visit Delamere (or one of Go Ape’s other Segway locations) you should definitely try this out. Beats walking.
Other activities in Delamere Forest
One of my favourite spots in Delamere Forest is the main lake; Blakemere Moss. This section is absolutely gorgeous in any weather and somehow always looks tranquil. The forest also has some great walking trails. With such a diverse choice of paths you can find anything from child friendly strolls to longer walks for couples and friends. If the beauty of nature and excitement of Segways isn’t enough, Go Ape also offers their Tree Top Adventure. Tree Top Adventure can best be described as an obstacle course between trees. It looked quite cool, but I haven’t tried it myself as I was busy not riding into the trees. Finally, you can hire a bike by the Delamere Cafe, if you’d rather explore the paths with a different set of two wheels.
Are you a Segway aficionado or have you been to Delamere Forest? Please share your stories below!