Calshot Activities Centre: Then and Now

May 23 2019

collage images of Calshot then and now

It is an exciting time at Calshot Activities Centre with fantastic new adventures such as AeroTrek and LaserClimb recently added to their activity repertoire. But how many people remember the centre’s earliest adventures, back in 1964?

Calshot Spit near Fawley in the New Forest housed an RAF station until 1961. The RAF left a legacy of over 40 buildings, including a number of hangars, which are now well-known to adventure enthusiasts as the home of Calshot Activities Centre’s indoor ski slope, velodrome and climbing centre. It is from these hangars that the name ‘The Hangar @ Calshot’ emerged to encompass our new activities; Aero Trek, Take Off and Laser Climb.

Hampshire County Council opened Calshot Activities Centre in 1964 and ran its first watersports course on 18 May 1964, teaching sailing for Hampshire children. The centre quickly expanded to teach other adventurous sports, such as kayaking and climbing. A dry ski slope and an indoor velodrome was added afterwards – the first of its kind at the time.

Calshot continued to push boundaries and invest in its facilities. In the 1990s, the velodrome was upgraded, the climbing wall expanded, and the ski slope redeveloped. The velodrome is still the only indoor banked velodrome in the South East.

Today Calshot Activities Centre is one of the largest outdoor adventure centres on the South Coast, and offers a wide range of exciting water and land based activities within its historic hangars.

New facilities opened this year include:

  • Aero Trek – An indoor high-ropes course including balance beams, tightrope bridges and a zip wire;
  • Take Off - Climbing walls with an automated safety system, so that people can get climbing and having fun safely and quickly, without the need to learn about ropes and belaying;
  • Laser Climb – innovative interactive bouldering games, such as, hitting meteors or climbing related challenges suitable for all; from the youngest kids to hard-training adults;
  • Bouldering Cave – State-of-the-art bouldering cave with improved indoor rock climbing.

The ‘Hangar @ Calshot’ activities are available on a pay-and-play basis, subject to availability. But to guarantee your space, it’s still best to check availability and book in advance.

Archive photos taken by Allan Porter.