The Crocky Trail is an outdoor adventure trail based in Waverton, Cheshire. We visited in October 2020 when the COVID-19 lockdown had temporarily lifted and attractions were able to re-open. Although my review will touch on some elements connected to the pandemic, that is not the purpose of this review. This is not an advertorial post; we paid for our tickets ourselves.
I’m unsure how admission to the Crocky Trail works in ‘non-pandemic’ times but for our visit we were given a time slot in which to arrive and advised we would have a three hour period in which to explore and enjoy all that Crocky Trail had to offer. Our temperatures were taken on arrival and in we went. Although I said that this wouldn’t be a social distancing / pandemic review it is worth saying that on entrance to the Crocky Trail you hit a bottleneck. There are rides and attractions immediately as you enter and it was chaos. Children and adults everywhere. In fact it was packed to the point that Meg (11) panicked and said she didn’t want to go any further. Very little social distancing was happening and it didn’t seem as though the staff were engaged in any form of crowd control. I would imagine that on a busy day in ‘normal’ times, it’s worth pushing through this bottleneck in order to reach the trail itself. You can always circle back and enjoy the attractions afterwards; which is exactly what we did.
The trail is set a little way back from the entrance and, as I mentioned, you have to walk past the rides and attractions to find the starting point. A number of the elements were sadly closed. Whether this was due to the season or the fact that they couldn’t be manned because of the climate, it wasn’t immediately clear, but we were soon off.
Was it good?
Crocky Trail is a mile long and consists of a variety of activities for you to scramble over, climb under, navigate or just simply try to avoid toppling into the Crocky ‘stream’. It’s a mile long and is set alongside fields and small wooded areas. At 11 and 9, Meg and Eli were the perfect age to enjoy tackling the trail on their own with me overseeing from the path which follows alongside. I did have a go at some of the trail but it really wasn’t necessary. I actually found they left me behind on a number of occasions!
The trail is extremely hands-on and when we visited it was extremely muddy. I would highly suggest wearing old clothes which you don’t mind getting covered in muck along with study shoes for good grip. For kids (and grown ups) who like being physical in the outdoors then I think this would be a highly enjoyable day out. We had to queue for short periods for some of the trail but it took us around an hour and a half to complete.
The rides and attractions included death-defying slides and some interesting challenges! Again, not everything was open and in the end we decided to grab a drink and then head back out for another turn around the trail which was much more the speed of both kids.
We attended an afternoon slot and I think this was ideal. By the time we had finished the trail, the attraction was much quieter and the trail was virtually empty on our second turn around.
What wasn’t so good?
Although it is fairly easy to see the majority of the trail from the path, there are some parts which are more difficult terrain-wise and I don’t think that it would suit those with mobility issues or pushchairs if you were the only adult present.
As mentioned above there was very little encouragement for social distancing when in the ride and attraction area. Eli was knocked over by a running child whilst on the trail with no parent in sight. There were no staff at all present on the trail.
Before we did the trail a second time, I ordered a hot drink and some ice creams and was left waiting 15 minutes for my drink. I was sat at a bench opposite the kiosk and could see the staff standing around and chatting with one another. When I approached to ask where my drink was it was clear it had been forgotten. It then took a further 5 minutes for the staff member to make a hot chocolate from an ‘instant’ machine.
It cost us £34 for two children and one adult, with free parking. The only additional cost we had were the hot drink and the ice creams as we arrived after lunch. There were picnic benches scattered around so it would be easy enough to bring your own picnic with you if needed.
A quick glance at the website looks as though there has been a slight price increase. Child tickets (5-21) are £14.00, Adult tickets (21+) are £10.00 and under 5’s are free with a paying adult.
I would like to give the benefit of the doubt that perhaps Crocky Trail was under-staffed due to COVID and it would be interesting to have a return visit and see what has changed (if anything). Both Meg and Eli had an extremely enjoyable day and other than when we first entered, were totally unaware of anything other than how much fun the trail was to explore.