My travels this weekend were borne out of a desire to attend the annual European Coaster Club event at Oakwood Theme Park, something that I've been meaning to do for several years. Though it was slightly cheaper to fly I decided it'd be more comfortable to take the ferry, giving me the option to visit a few more parks en route. The first of these was Greenwood Forest Park, located less than half an hour from Holyhead Port. Satnav had the park in exactly the right location, which was probably just as well; I'm not sure that I'd have found it otherwise.
The target market for this park is clearly children, as can be seen from the web site which features a whole subsection labelled information for grown-ups. Be that as it may, anyone with a passing interest in amusement ride technology will be fascinated by the place, thanks to its unique roller coaster. The Green Dragon (#1553) eschews the usual lift hill in favour of a small funicular railway which raises the train to the top point of the ride using a train load of passengers as a counterbalance, theoretically allowing energy neutral operation. Once the train is in position passengers climb up some stairs to board. I'm not sure how energy neutral this really is on quieter days when the train isn't full, but it's nevertheless a seriously neat concept.
Better yet, the coaster itself is a winner. The layout is a terrain hugging design, that can be thought of as a junior version of the legendary Lisebergbanan. The length was a little shorter than I'd have liked, but that really is a nitpick; all it really did was encourage me to ride more than once. I recently came across a magazine article which suggested that visiting amusement parks helped with weight loss thanks to people walking around all day. Climbing the hill for this ride probably qualifies as an extreme workout, but one which I'd have no problem repeating on a regular basis.