Via Ferrata, Cornwall
Via Ferrata Cornwall opened last summer in a former granite quarry between Helston and Falmouth, and will reopen on 3 April. The course involves climbing iron ladders, scaling 20-metre-high cliffs, crossing a water-filled quarry on a 70-metre-long single strand of wire and zip-wiring back to ground. Brave eight-year-olds can tackle the Adventure Zone, while the minimum age for the full Classic is 10. This year, new activities are being added, included paddleboarding, coasteering and archery. The site is run by BF Adventure, a charity that works with disadvantaged young people, and all profits go towards its work.
From £25, viaferratacornwall.co.uk
Hereford Canoes is based in Hoarwithy village, halfway between Ross-on-Wye and Hereford. This is one of the safest and quietest stretches of the River Wye, away from the crowds at Symonds Yat. It is reopening on 29 March for half- or full-day canoe hire. The most popular half-day trip is an 8½-mile paddle between two campsites along a scenic stretch of the river, with gentle rapids and sweeping bends. On a full day trip, canoeists can go all the way from Lucksall campsite to Ross-on-Wye (18 miles in total) or start in Hereford and finish in Hoarwithy (17 miles). Customers are transported to start and pickup points by minibus – capacity is limited so there is space to socially distance.
£60 a boat half-day, £70 full day, herefordcanoehire.com
Fore Adventures in Studland, Dorset, is reopening on 1 April for activities including kayaking, foraging and bushcraft. The half-day bushcraft courses take place in the woods and cover shelter-building, fire-lighting, water purification, plant and tree identification, and tool techniques, such as how to split wood or make carvings. The full day course also includes coastal foraging and campfire cooking. There is also a two-hour session for families, suitable for age eight and above (the other courses are for age 12-plus).
From £40 adults/£25 children, foreadventure.co.uk
Boating, various locations
Anglo Welsh, a narrowboat holiday company, is hiring out day boats from 12 April – a way to try out canal-boating and get the hang of steering, mooring up and working the locks. All boats carry up to 10 people and have indoor and outdoor seats, a mini-kitchen and a toilet. There are six locations, including Wootton Wawen on the Stratford-upon-Avon Canal in Warwickshire, where boaters can go south to the historic village of Wilmcote, passing over the Edstone aqueduct, or north to Lowsonford, through the remnants of the Forest of Arden. The other locations are Bunbury on the Shropshire Union Canal, Cheshire; Whixall Marina on the Llangollen Canal, also in Shropshire; Trevor on the Llangollen Canal in north Wales; Tardebigge on the Worcester & Birmingham Canal, Worcestershire; and Great Haywood on the Trent & Mersey Canal, Staffordshire. Until 17 May, only single households can use the boats, as the government’s roadmap stipulates.
Boats from £99 a day, anglowelsh.co.uk
Walking, Yorkshire Dales
Muddy Boots runs self-guided walking holidays and guided “discovery walks” in the Yorkshire Dales. The guided walks resume on 29 March, taking walkers off the beaten track to discover hidden gills and rarely visited hilltops. On the four-hour family adventure walk in Wharfedale, children will learns skills such as map-reading, making a storm shelter and cooking simple food, and can paddle in the river. There are also full-day walks for adults, including a challenging 13-mile hike along the western ridge of the Mallerstang valley and over the summit of 708-metre Wild Boar Fell. A shorter option is the evening walk in Bishopdale. Walkers set off from the village of West Burton at dusk along a short but steep route, passing a waterfall, woodland and rocks with fossils, before reaching the summit to watch the sunset. The descent is by torchlight. Self-guided walking holidays should restart from 17 May.
From £60 for two, muddybootswalkingholidays.com
Diving, Tyne & Wear
Aquanorth, a diving centre in South Shields, is reopening for half-day dives on 29 March. These shore dives start at Browns Bay and explore the century-old wreck of the SS Butetown, a cargo ship carrying coal that was stranded on the rocks in December 1917. The small kelp forest around the wreck is home to lobsters, crabs and a variety of fish, plus nudibranchs, anemones and sponges. Each trip has two divers and one guide, and goes to a maximum depth of nine metres. Divers must be at least 12 and have their open-water certification. The same company also runs try dives in a swimming pool (ages eight-plus) and Padi open-water courses (10-plus); both when restrictions allow.
£65 for a half-day dive, aquanorth.co.uk
Multi-activities, Peak District, Yorkshire Dales and Lake District
Lost Earth Adventures’ “Mad days” (multi-activity days) resume on 29 March. Groups of up to six can spend a day in either the Peak District or one of two locations in the Yorkshire Dales, trying activities including climbing, abseiling, caving and gorge walking. Each location has something different: in Nidderdale, there is an underground high ropes course, and near Ingleton, groups can go canyoning in Beezley Falls and then zipline across it. River Deep Mountain High offers similar adventures days in the Lake District, such as canoeing and climbing or scrambling and abseiling.
From £99pp in a group of six, lostearthadventures.co.uk
The New Forest Paddle Sport Company is resuming its paddleboarding activities on 29 March with options for all abilities, from taster sessions to racing and touring courses. Lessons take place at Ashlett Creek (adults only) and Keyhaven Quay (ages eight and over) – the latter also has a range of paddleboarding experiences. They include onboard fitness and pilates classes; sunset and moonlight paddles; and trips to Hurst Castle, Lymington and the Needles on the Isle of Wight. There are even dedicated “SUP with your pup” sessions, designed to get dogs comfortable with being on a board.
From £25 for a taster session, thenewforestpaddlesportcompany.co.uk
Mountain biking, Northumberland
The Kielder Cycle Centre in Kielder Forest is reopening for bike hire on 27 March. The forest has more than 100 miles of cycling trails, most of it single-track and all of it traffic-free. From the hire centre, mountain bikers can tackle the easy (green) Borderline Trail along a former railway line, the moderate (blue) 26-mile Lakeside Way around Kielder Water, or the difficult (red) Lonesome Pine trail, with thrilling descents. Expert bikers will be challenged by the severe (black) Deadwater Trail, although the most difficult “up and over” section has not yet reopened. Kielder Forest Drive offers motorists some of the same spectacular views, and reopens on 1 May.
Mountain bike hire from £45 adults/£15 juniors, thebikeplace.co.uk