Family Outings: ATV Motorsports Centre, Cornwall
Quads and rockers
Sunday 19 September 2004
Simply the best quad track in the country. ATV has been in Blackwater, Cornwall, since 1979, when the Whetter family landscaped 11 acres of their farm to create the UK's first quad circuit. There are now three circuits, one for beginners and two for intermediates. Because of the scarcity of sites for quads in the UK, people come from across the country to try out these tough, all-terrain buggies.
Something for children
Suzuki LT quads are available on the red, grass-covered beginners' circuit and these 50cc machines are ideal for children from the age of six. Armour and helmets are provided. Five ACU and Lantra-accredited coaches are available to give instruction on how to drive a quad bike, which is compulsory. The coaches will decide when your child is ready to move on to the yellow Intermediate 1 circuit, which is a quarter of a mile long and more demanding.
Something for adults
Tearing around on quads is one of those things that brings out the kid in all of us, but if you'd rather sit this one out there is a viewing bridge running above all three circuits. For adults who want to try their hand on the throttle there is a compulsory five-minute period of instruction on the beginners' circuit before they can progress to the yellow and blue intermediate courses.
You don't come to this kind of place for haute-cuisine, but there is a state-of-the-art vending machine in the café. There is a picnic area where you can eat your own food.
ATV keyring (£1.95), toy quads (£4.99) and ATV T-shirts are among the cheaper buys. Converts can purchase helmets and body armour (from £44.95). If you're smitten, second-hand quad bikes are available (£595). There are also brand new children's Meerkat quads (£595) and Apache 150cc quads for adults (£1,595).
Admission and access
ATV gets busy on Saturdays.
Opening times: 10am-5pm daily. Admission prices: adults £9 for 10 minutes and £20 for 30 minutes; children aged six to 15 years £7 for 10 minutes and £17 for 30 minutes. There is no restriction on how long you can hire the bikes for. Free admission for spectators. Disabled access: there is parking close to the circuits for disabled spectators.
How to get there
The ATV Motorsports Centre, Blackwater, Truro, Cornwall TR4 8HJ (01872 560753; www.atvmotorsportscentre.co.uk).
By car: Off the A30 between Truro and Bodmin, follow the signs for Blackwater at the Chiverton roundabout.
By public transport: The nearest mainline railway station is Truro five miles away (08457 484950; www.nationalrail.co.uk/planmyjourney). The nearest coach hub is also at Truro, also five miles away (0870 5808080; www.nationalexpress.com). Two buses, the Truronian T1 (01872 273453) and Hopely 304 (01209 890268), run from both stations to the centre, journey time about 25 minutes. Single tickets cost £1.65 and £1.70 respectively. A taxi costs £7.50.
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