Finding thrills in the UK

There are no active volcanoes in the UK, which is great, though it does mean Brits have to go abroad to try the new and bizarre sport of Volcano Surfing. Brits will also struggle to find a good place for Skijoring, where you put on skis and get pulled along by horses or dogs. While these both sound amazing, there are plenty of other ways to get an adrenaline rush in the UK. Here are a few you might not have tried:

Driving a supercar

In 2007, a man was jailed for ten weeks for driving a borrowed Porsche at 172mph down the A420 in Oxfordshire. He should have just paid for a supercar driving experience, where he could have done the same thing, but legally and more safely, on a racetrack.

If sports cars aren’t your thing, at some driving tracks you can race JCBs, or drive monster trucks, articulated lorries, and even fire engines.

Where to do it: York, Wigan, Stratford-upon-Avon.

Caving

Last year, Werner Herzog blagged himself the best caving experience of all time – he got permission to explore the Chauvet Cave in France, which contains 32,000-year-old paintings, the oldest in the world.

Watching Herzog’s film is the only way you’ll get to see inside Chauvet – it’s closed to the public. However, there are plenty of picturesque caves to explore around the UK.

Where to do it: Yorkshire Dales, the Peak District, Sutherland (Scotland).

Hostage rescue

If your friends are a bit bored with paintballing, why not buy them a hostage rescue day gift? You’ll be trained in weapons and tactics, and then have to plan and carry out the rescue, using replica weapons.

You can also do ‘spy days’, which involve sniping, electronic surveillance and driving stunts.

Where to do it: Milton Keynes.

Flying lesson

This is understandably exciting for the participants, but you’d think it would also cause a real adrenaline rush for the teacher, because you’re driving the plane, and you’ve never driven a plane before. Fortunately, they also have a set of controls, so it’s safe. In some ‘flying experience’ sessions, you’re allowed to do barrel rolls, loops and other aerial acrobatics.

Where to do it: Gloucestershire, Bristol, Cardiff.

Barefoot water skiing

The name is something of a contradiction, as if you put skis on your feet, they are no longer bare. Still, it sounds fun – you get pulled along by a boat while standing up. As you don’t have skis, you need to go pretty fast to stay above the water. In March 2011, a barefoot water skier set a new world record – 153mph. He was being pulled by a helicopter.

Where to do it Ringwood (Hampshire), Lydd (Kent).

Coasteering

The coastal equivalent of parkour, coasteering involves scrambling up cliffs, across rocky ridges, over obstacles, and through caves, as well as a fair bit of diving and swimming. It’s good exercise, adrenaline-filled, and done on remote beaches, so any embarrassing slip-ups are less public than if you were doing parkour.

Where to do it: Devon and Cornwall are full of great spots.

The UK’s Best Sand Dunes

sand dune

The UK coastline contains many more delights than soft white sand and beautiful blue seas. The sand dunes that often play backdrop to the coastline are most impressive in stature, rising high above the sea line and containing some fantastic wildlife and plantations. Due to this, it is widely known and accepted that the special habitats of the sand dunes of the UK must be fiercely protected.

For example, Braunton Burrows in Devon is an absolute haven for wild flowers. The huge site is home to over 400 species of flowers, so it’s little surprise that Braunton Burrows has been listed as a UNESCO biosphere site; ranked as important and significant for wildlife and the surrounding ecosystem as Mount Vesuvius! However, the fragility of the area does not mean that it cannot be enjoyed by the public. The land is open to all comers and many activities take place on Braunton Burrows, including orienteering and bird watching. A level of respect for the dunes is naturally expected by those who look after the site. It is this continued level of respect that allows visitors to enjoy the spectacular beauty of the sand dunes in this area, often rising to as high as 20 metres above the ground. This and other sites around the UK are perfect for a family day out; a stroll amongst the sand dunes can be an eye opening and educating experience, perfectly followed and complimented by a relaxing day on a nearby beach.

The UK is littered with beautiful sand dune terrain, perfect for exploration and relaxation. Forested sand dunes are particularly pleasant, with the forest of Roseisle, near Elgin in Scotland, being a specific example. A beautifully clean forest floor is covered only with a scattering of pine needles from the fragrant trees above. A stroll amongst the sand dunes in the serene pine forest, with only the fantastic scent of pine to accompany you, is a hugely refreshing experience, which can also be experienced in many others parts of the UK.

Sand dunes are also a superb place to spot some of the UK’s rarest wildlife. Amongst any set of dunes in the UK you are guaranteed to see a wide variety of birds, from Skylarks to Ringed Plovers. If you are lucky, you may even see a Kestrel, or in the dunes of Scotland, a Red Kite hovering in the sky above! Also, the varied plantations and habitats make a perfect home for a variety of animals of the dune floor; many sand dune areas in the UK contain Sand Lizards and even some snakes!

Next time you plan your coastal holiday, don’t just head straight for the obvious sandy beach. Why not take into account the fantastic sand dunes that accompany many of Britain’s beaches? Take the time to explore and immerse yourself in the peace of the dunes. Furthermore, take the opportunity to appreciate some of the finest and rarest wildlife that the UK has to offer, often exclusively found in the special habitat of these sand dunes.

Article by Simply Beach
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