High hopes for new rope course at Haigh Hall

Adrian Lloyd from Wicksteed, Cllr Paul Kenny, John Hulme from Friends of Haigh Country Park and Lynsey Johnson from WLCT who are working with Wigan Council on site

Adrian Lloyd from Wicksteed, Cllr Paul Kenny, John Hulme from Friends of Haigh Country Park and Lynsey Johnson from WLCT who are working with Wigan Council on site

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AN adventure climbing high-rope course set for Wigan’s Haigh Hall could be open this summer, according to developers behind the plans.

A planning application has been submitted to the town hall for the facilities which are part of the major revamp of the Haigh Woodland Park.

Contractors JM Adventure has urged council officers to grant permission “at the earliest opportunity” so the course can be open “at the end of July”.

The planning documents state: “The development of the high ropes course...is an essential component of the masterplan for Haigh Woodland Park and will create an adventure zone following the completion of the adventure play area.”

As part of the proposals three trees will be felled to make room for the course but this will be offset with the planting of 12 saplings.

The course will include swinging tires, star steps, plank bridges, hanging loops and zipwires, the documents reveal.

The report adds: “The high ropes course will be developed on land opposite the existing crazy golf course adjacent to the adventure play area.

“The positioning of the course serves to create an adventure zone complimenting the completed play facility.”

The new park will include a £6m restoration of the Grade II listed hall into a four-star boutique Contessa hotel, set to boost the local economy by £30m and increase visitor numbers to 500,000 per year.

Wigan Council is investing around £4m in infrastructure improvements and new attractions within the 250 acres of woodland surrounding Haigh Hall.

The deal will reduce the maintenance burden for Wigan borough tax-payers by £8m over the next decade.

Coun Paul Kenny, the council’s cabinet member for Leisure, said: “Visitors to the park are in for a real treat when the play area is completed.

“It’s the first in a line of fresh activities, including a high ropes attraction and innovative adventure golf course, coming to Haigh over the next three years as we develop the site into a first class destination for tourists.”

Planning officers have indicated they hope to have reached a decision on the high-rope course by April.

The latest application is one of many set to make the Haigh Country Park into a super new leisure attraction over the next few years, with a £12m redevelopment of Haigh Woodland Park.

And last month a community group launched a campaign for the return of the Haigh miniature train hugely popular with young visitors.