The outdoor adventure center at two former quarries in Halvasso near Penryn is the first of its kind in the south of England and, although we have seen it, has already welcomed over 7,000 visitors.
We thought we’d give the Via Ferrata Cornwall a chance. So on a rare non-rainy day in early August, we visited the center to put it in its stride.
Via Ferrata was designed and built by the income-generating charity BF Adventure so that more young people from disadvantaged backgrounds in the duchy can enjoy their adventure holidays, too.
The center is found at the end of a narrow twisty trail off Penryn Road to Helston and could do with one or two more signs, so it’s easy to find. But apart from that, he is awesome.
Split over two water-filled quarries, the site offers a wide range of adventures from archery to rock climbing, SUP and lounge around the quarries, kayaking, canoeing, and of course, Via Ferrata.
Meaning the Iron Road in Italian, where it originated, Via Ferrata is a safe way to discover an area of cliffs, mountains, or even caves.
Although not the Italian Alps or the Pyrenees, Via Ferrata Cornwall allows you to climb the slopes of the two quarries along a winding road that gets more difficult as you progress along the way, ending with a zip wire over the second quarry.
The first quarry serves as a beginner’s course where you learn to use equipment and stay safe, while the second quarry, which is much larger and deeper, is where the fun really begins.
Some people may be familiar with the Via Ferrata concept, where climbers climb a ladder of large metal articles fixed in the face of the rock using two safety ropes and carabiners to tie themselves over the next anchor point.
The Via Ferrata Cornwall uses a completely different system called “Zaza,” which means that your safety rope runs along with a rail-like system that frees your hands so you can focus on walking safely.
In addition to belts and, of course, helmets, participants who give Via Ferrata Cornwall are accompanied by a qualified coach who will guide you through the course, including challenging parts such as the 70m wire bridge and the zip wire at the end.