The UK’s only eco adventure park, GreenWood Forest Park, has declared its new fully solar powered action ride, ‘SolarSplash’, officially open.
Known to be the first solar powered ride in the UK, it boasts a huge water slide with two wave chutes, each approximately 60 metres long, alongside a spiral tube chute at 91 metres long. The ride starts at the top of a 12 metre high tower, reached following a climb of some 64 steps with far reaching views across Snowdonia, and finishes 80 metres away at ground level.
Visitors will shoot down the super-fast slides in bespoke dinghies made for two people at speeds of up to 25 miles an hour. With 25 dinghies in use, the ride can take up to 400 thrill seekers per hour with an age limit starting at three years or 950mm tall. Safe in the enclave of the dinghy, riders will not get wet but will simply skim the waters on the rapid descent.
High levels of electricity are needed to power the huge water pumps, enabling the water to reach the top of the chutes. This power is generated on site via a 150kw solar array installed at the Park last summer, enabling SolarSplash to be a fully solar powered ride. The solar array will not only provide carbon free power for the new ride but should meet around 80% of the needs of the Park for the entire year.
Sion Jones, Councillor helped mark the ride officially open. He said: “It’s an absolute privilege to open this SolarSplash ride this morning. Opening this ride today is the greatest honour I’ve had as councillor of this area. This ride means more than just an activity. It means a more thriving tourism area. It means more jobs for our young people and it helps secure the future of GreenWood Forest Park.”
Stephen Bristow, Managing Director of GreenWood Forest Park said: “It has taken 18 months from first concept to the commissioning of the ride, but the result is a brilliant new water ride that is powered by the sun, provides lots of fun and excitement, and, very importantly given our North Wales climate, does not make you wet.”
He added: “It’s a fantastic addition to the host of rides and adventure activities that we already have here including the GreenDragon Roller coaster, another world first as the only ride of its kind powered by human energy. We are committed to developing the Park in a sustainable way that not only provides huge entertainment and fun for children of all ages but that actively promotes and encourages sustainability on many levels.”
Funding was secured via a combination of private investment, bank funding through Lloyds with further support from a Visit Wales grant.
Construction work started on SolarSplash in September 2015 and is now open to the public. At a cost of almost £1million, the ride was commissioned by independent experts after a German team spent several weeks at the site installing SolarSplash, following completion of groundworks by local contractor, Alwyn Jones.