2023 Year In Review

2023 Year In Review

The site has continued to grow and develop over the last 12 months and the ranger team have thrived despite the wet weather experienced in 2023.

It was a bumper year for the park and the rangers have delivered on many outstanding projects.

The year in numbers

  • Total visitors; nearly a million visitors again (approximately 953,757), including a record breaking February 2023, with over 85,000 visitors onsite.
  • Ranger hours; approximately 39,421 ranger hours worked throughout the year.
  • Conservation and maintenance volunteers; approximately 1,000 hours worked, including their time as ranger elves, unpacking, selling and helping to manage the Christmas tree shop.
  • 16,692 cycling hours across our fleet of hire bikes.
  • Adventure Valley; 23,214 mini electric Land Rover laps driven, covering approximately 3,290,000 metres or 2,700 miles. The same distance as Moors Valley to the North Pole!
  • Our retail shop sold 56,225 items, including 1,114 items from local Dorset artists or small businesses.
  • Seasons Restaurant provided over 150,000 soft drinks, 10,000 sausage rolls and nearly 5,000 bacon baps
  • In 2023 Go Apes high rope courses saw customers zip over 10,937,821 metres, that’s 6797 miles, the equivalent of zipping around the moon!
  • Moors Valley had 542,381 likes, clicks, comments or shares across our social media channels.
  • Tracks and trails; over 2.5 miles of trails resurfaced, across the Play Trail, Singletrack, Crane Lake and waymarked walking and cycling trails.
  • parkrun; 24,246 parkrun events walked, jogged or run.
  • Over 500 cubic meters of woodchip distributed around the various play areas, landing zones or used within the biomass boiler.
  • 2023 saw Moors Valley achieve a Visit England accreditation of 90%, its highest score ever and showcasing sustained progress from previous years. Visit England stated that “scores at Moors Valley have been consistently improving over the last couple of years, reflective of investment in the site, on the buildings, equipment and trails, and also in staff training. “

Projects delivered

Adventure Valley

“Immerse yourself in nature and take on the challenge of our 18 hole Adventure Golf course or unleash your inner explorer as you navigate through an exciting off-road journey in electric Mini Land Rovers.”

After many (many) months of discussion, design and conceptualisation, Adventure Valley finally broke ground and was successfully delivered in 2023.

After a ranger holiday in 2020, the idea was first raised and soon began to materialise into a realistic project. With the support of Dorset Council and the wider partners of the park, the project was put into motion and work began on securing the land needed, alongside turning the concept and design into a full specification.

Ground was broken in March 2023 and with the creativity, flexibility and hard work of several external contractors, alongside our ranger team, both Adventure Valley courses were built and launched on 18th August 2023. Since then;

  • 4,250 rounds (76,500 holes) of Adventure Golf have been completed.
  • 4,414 full course Land Rover laps driven, covering 1,103,500 metres or 685 miles!
  • 18,800 Land Rover lap completed on the temporary course covering a further 3,290,000 metres or 2044 miles!

Adventure Valley Before and After

Bee Hive

Moors Valley was buzzing in Easter 2023 as the new Bee Hive play area opened.

Designed to help children connect to nature and understand more about the important role of bees, the new play area is full of fun things to do. Children can help bees to collect pollen, learn about how the colony works, explore the network of different hives, and try out a whole range of bee themed puzzles encouraging communication and problem solving.

Created to be fully inclusive for every family, the Bee Hive has a range of sensory activities to hear, touch or see and features braille to help describe the experience.

Bee Hive

Straight Boardwalk and Crane Lake Surfacing Works

After several years of hotter summers and colder winters much of the tarmac paths around Crane Lake were starting to show significant signs of wear and tear. Cracks, potholes and undulations were diminishing the pathways and taking away from the stunning scenery.

The straight wooden boardwalk connecting Moors Valley to Potterne, via our pink loop, was also rotten and beginning to collapse in places. In February 2023 the wooden boardwalk was ripped out and replaced with a stoned causeway. These works not only replaced the rotten boardwalk, but allow for a more robust pathway during the wettest seasons.

In September 2023 the rangers led on over 450m of resurfacing, around Crane Lake, ensuring the trails are safe and user friendly.

Explorers Kiosk

With the park continually getting busier and people staying for longer our main restaurant could, at times, struggle to keep up with demand. Many visitor surveys have suggested a food and drink provision away from the busiest areas would be popular.

For the Dorset school holidays we launched the Explorers Kiosk, a food and drink takeaway offering based on the Play Trail. By providing an offering in the heart of the ever popular Play Trail it has given our visitors greater choice in enjoying some much needed caffeine and also eased some pressure on Seasons restaurant.

Upcoming for 2024

New Car Parking System

Our current parking system is nearly 10 years old and is starting to creak at the seams, much like the ranger team! With technology developing and the capabilities of Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) growing, the time is right for the park to refurbish this facility.

In January 2024 the ranger team will oversee a full overhaul of this system, with a new system in place for February half term. Further updates on the impact to visitors will be on our website in the New Year.

Pay Machines

Swing Bridge

To further develop on the success of our main picnic area Butterfly installation and expanding Music Trail, we are installing a rope swing bridge at the bottom of Moors Lake. This play feature will cross the outflow of Moors Lake and connect the picnic area to the start of the trail around Moors Lake, which will open this area up further and give visitors a fun and adventurous way to explore this part of the park.

Work has started on excavating the outflow, clearing the area leading to it and designing a support system for the swing bridge to be fixed to. As the weather clears in 2024 the ranger team will work to install the new play feature and aim to have this open in time for the Easter holidays.

Swing Bridge

Launch of Ranger Den Pond

Back in 2021 work was started to clear, widen and reline our Ranger Den pond, alongside the installation of wooden decking. These works were essential for the habitats that call the pond home, but also to allow us to future proof the educational pond dipping sessions many schools value as part of their regular curriculum. Now the pond has had time to settle and re-establish the rangers can finish the decking and ensure we are able to offer pond dipping once again in 2024.

Play Trail Archway Renovation

Originally designed and installed in 1990, our iconic Play Trail archway is long overdue a makeover. Rangers created a clear and concise design brief and manufacture is underway with installation due early February 2024. With sculpted pieces, interactive elements and tall totems to guide you we hope this archway will help show off all the Play Trail has to offer.