We met with Mark from Henley Hillbillies at about 9am, whilst sitting down to enjoy a cup of coffee in a lovely converted barn, which is the reception and seating area. Mark went through some safety information and fitted us with overalls and crash helmets ready for quad biking! “Make sure they are a snug fit”, Mark said. Tom took a large hat but Mark had to go down a size for me to a small – the banter began!
Henley Hillbillies is set on a 200 acre farm where you can experience the beautiful Dorset countryside riding a quad bike, driving a formula 2 hovercraft, shooting a clay pigeon out of the sky or driving a Polaris Ace, the ultimate thrill seekers ATV – a single seat dirt buggy with a 500cc engine and roll cage!
Outside with the quad bikes we were shown the controls and told how to ride them. After a demonstration and some practice, we were able to go onto the 1.5 mile quad bike circuit. This has some very tight corners and a few very tricky humps and bumps! Having been guided round the first lap by Mark, (I had to lower my visor a bit to stop too much dust from entering the helmet!) we were left to our own devices. I managed to get away ahead of Tom so he could enjoy eating my dust! The first lap was taken with caution and I took the downhill corners and the humps with great care – Tom started to catch up!
After a couple of laps, I was getting the hang of things. However, I got a bit too carried away and missed a corner, so rather than crashing I headed off course much to Tom and Mark’s amusement. So with the style of Lewis Hamilton I got back on track and burnt rubber! Managing a much cleaner lap, sadly our time was now over and time to head back to the car park.
Quad biking is a great way to blast away the cobwebs, just open the throttle and drive across the rugged course. With smaller bikes available, it’s something for all the family from the age of 8 upwards to enjoy!
After taking the quad bikes back to the car park Luke asked us to get into the Land Rover to head off for a spot of Clay Pigeon Shooting. Tom has his own gun which he uses now and again, so should have had the upper hand. It had been a while since I had used a shotgun so I said that I was a total novice. (Keeping it a bit quiet that I have in the past been quite good at clay pigeon shooting). We agreed not to keep score, deciding just to shoot for a bit of fun. However, my competitive instincts kicked in, so I couldn’t help myself and I secretly kept a tally of the scores. Tom went first starting with single clays. After the first five Tom had hit 3 clays then it was my turn… so, after missing the first clay I was not feeling too confident… but then things just got better and the next 4 clays I turned to dust!
Next we had double clays to hit which meant they would be coming one after the other so no time for a break in between shots. Tom managed to hit 10 out of the 20 that came over which I have to say I was pretty impressed with. I was very happy with my efforts too scoring 20 out of 20 for a total score of 24 out of 25 clays. Just to be fair I presented Tom with the only clay that I did not damage as a trophy to remember the day by. I managed to come away with the glory of being “Top Gun” for the day. I just need to remember this for my performance review at Dorset Coastal Cottages later in the year!
Clay pigeon shooting requires quick reflexes, good coordination and concentration and can be enjoyed by all the family with a minimum age restriction of 12.
Thank you again to Mark and Luke for a fantastic morning and we can wholeheartedly recommend Henley Hillbillies for an activity day for all the family. And don’t forget they also have Badger Watch Dorset to enjoy in the evenings.