Bounce Below Review
You have to go a long way into Snowden National Park, then a little way underground, to find the all new Bounce Below; a ridiculously imagined experience involving an abandoned slate quarry cavern, a network of suspended trampolines, a 60ft slide, a lot of lighting and a ton of fun. We took a trip to Llechwedd in Blaenau Ffestiniog, Wales; to have a good old bounce about and see what all the fuss was about.
Setting up Bounce Below was not an easy task, with over 4,500 man hours going into clearing the rubble and debris that had piled up inside the cavern, all without the aid of any mechanical help. That’s a 100 x 60ft cavern full, about 500 tonnes of rocks, being hand cleared without the aid of electricity and only the light of portable lamps, very miner like indeed!
Then the huge ‘nets’ were brought in from France and the team fitted them at 20ft off the ground, then another at 60ft with the last a staggering 180ft high. Each is about 60ft wide, and tested to hold “a huge weight”., that is some trampoline.
Parking up at the Slate Mine, the most noticeable thing is the number of people flying by overhead as they experience the thrill of the world’s largest zipping experience. Bounce Below is a part of Zip World, another madcap adventure experience. However, we were looking for something underground rather than in the air. We headed into the rather unassuming visitors centre to get geared up and head on down.
With an average temperature of around 16 degrees in the cavern, it is advisable to wear temperature appropriate clothing for Bounce Below. However, we would recommend a t-shirt and shorts, given that you’re going to be bouncing about, getting hot and sweaty. On top of your regular clothes, you are also made to wear a fashionable red jumpsuit and helmet. Once you’ve been given the full safety brief (its all self explanatory, but obviously necessary), you hop aboard the little mine train and take a short trip into the cavern to reach Bounce Below. It is a little Victorian train, so people above 6ft, please mind your heads!
Once you are down in the dark cavern of Bounce Below, you are led through into an opening that is twice the size of St Paul’s Cathedral, and houses three extremely large trampolines connected by slides and ladders, in what looks like a maze of nets and bungee ropes. Bounce Below definitely takes your breath away as soon as you walk in. Incredibly out of place, and definitely the work of a madman, Bounce Below just feels like a glimpse into insanity – trampolines inside a giant cavern?! Illuminated by a number of bright and colourful lights, you get to go bouncing away almost instantly. Away down a short slide and windy tunnel, you bounce on up towards the first of the trampolines at the bottom of the cavern before you get the chance to climb the ladders and shoot on down the slides.
What is it like? Well, the Bounce Below experience is incredibly hard to describe. It is brilliantly maddening on the trampolines, with around 100 people crammed in, it’s easy to lose both your bounce and your balance and end up in a heap in the middle of the netting! After a while of getting the hang of things, bouncing about becomes second nature, and you run about like a drunk toddler, regressing to the age of about 10, until you realise you don’t quite have the boundless energy of a child and need a little breather. Bouncing can become a little stale, and towards the end people were enjoying the slides a lot and playing playground games with the bouncing adding a new twist.
Whilst some of us might not find the physical exertions of bouncing about the place too challenging, we warn you that there are some who might think a full 60 minutes down in the cavern is certainly enough, and there are a few who will struggle with the “ladders” – more like slippery slopes with a rope to haul yourself up. Still, if the exercise doesn’t worry you, nothing about Bounce Below will, and it is something you really have to see for yourself. Oh, and maybe it should go without saying, but just in case, this is probably not best for any claustrophobic trampoline enthusiasts.
Bounce below is likely a destination kids will enjoy, big kids will love it even more. We bounced to our heart’s content up and down, side to side, all in a manner that would make Winnie the Pooh’s Tigger proud.
Taking bookings now, it has an introductory price of £15, before rising to £20 from August onwards. One word of caution, getting to the place will not be easy for most, and we recommend jumping in a car and driving, taking in some of the wonderful vistas that the mountains and valleys around Snowden have to offer. If you’re thinking of getting the train from, say London, think again, its about a 4.5 hour trip that way! You can check out more information and bookings at the Bounce Below website.