Lightwater Valley

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Lightwater Valley
Lift hill of the roller coaster The Ultimate

Lift hill of the roller coaster The Ultimate

place Ripon / North Yorkshire ( England )
opening 1969/1987
Visitors approx. 500,000 (2013)
surface 70.8  hectares
staff 350
Lightwater Valley (United Kingdom)
Lightwater Valley
Lightwater Valley
Location of the park

Coordinates: 54 ° 10 '34 "  N , 1 ° 34' 14"  W Light Water Valley is a theme park in North Stainley near Ripon in the English county North Yorkshire . In the park isEurope'slongest roller coaster , The Ultimate .


The park area had been owned by the Stavely family since 1516 and was originally used as a pig farm. Robert Staveley converted his property into a fresh fruit farm for self-picking in 1969. However, a prolonged drought in 1976 led to a loss of income, especially in strawberry cultivation, the farm's most important business. In order to provide sufficient amounts of water and to prevent further crises, a large lake was created, which is still present in the park today. This lake was very popular in the summer months and Robert Staveley recognized the new business model as an increasing shift away from offering people to pick their own fruit to entertaining visitors. There was an adventure playground, rental of canoes and row boats , a circus, and other smaller activities.

1979 followed with the "Lightwater Express", a narrow-gauge railway that runs once around the park and is still in use today. The first attractions such as the “Devil's Cascade” water slide were developed in 1985. This was a boat for several people that fell over a rail system into a pool of water. In 1987 swan boats followed as pedal boats on the lake.

The construction of a roller coaster and thus the transition to a park with thrills was initially blocked by Robert Staveley's wife, as the roller coaster would disrupt the visual image of a nature park. After long discussions, she agreed on the condition that the roller coaster be completely invisible. This resulted in the world's first and at the time only underground roller coaster in 1987. The route was originally designed in the form of an oversized sewer. The roller coaster cars were shaped like large rats and could each hold four people. The ride itself took place completely in the dark. The success of the railway laid the foundation for future developments in travel options. A year later, in 1988, the first looping roller coaster followed, the Soopa Loopa with two vertical loops.

For the further expansion of the park, Robert Staveley wanted to use the rearmost part of the site, which was perfect for building a roller coaster, but also very remote. In order to save visitors long walks, the station was built relatively centrally and the route was extended accordingly. This resulted in the longest roller coaster in the world at the time. Construction work began in 1990. The small British company Big Country Motioneering was involved in the planning, but the cooperation with them was broken off after various problems. With the help of British Rail , internal staff completed the roller coaster. At a total of £ 5.3 million  , the railway was significantly more expensive than originally planned. Stavely himself was the first to take the train long before the actual opening. The official opening on July 17, 1991, 18 months after construction began, was made by Frank Bruno , a former British boxer.


roller coaster

image Surname Security restriction Type Max. height length Max. speed Manufacturer opening Travel time comment
RaptorAttack.jpg Raptor attack under 1.2 m Wildcat 10.5 m 420 m 48 km / h Schwarzkopf GmbH 1987 Operated between 1987 and 2009 as a “Rat Ride”, then rebuilt in 2010
UltimateTrain.jpg The Ultimate under 1.3 m Steel roller coaster 33 m 2,268.3 m 81 km / h Big Country Motioneering, Robert Staveley 1991 7 min longest roller coaster in Europe
The Ladybird under 1.0 m Tivoli (medium) 6 m 199 m 32 km / h Zierer rides 1993
The Twister under 1.2 m Wild mouse 13 m 420 m 47 km / h Reverchon Industries 2001
The little dipper under 1.0 m DPV Rides (Pinfari) 2003

Other rides (selection)

image Surname Security restriction Type Manufacturer opening
Splash Falls under 1.0 m Waterslide 1995
Trauma Tower under 1.1 m Free fall tower Moser's rides 2004
Eagle's Claw under 1.3 m Afterburner KMG 2004
Skyrider under 1.2 m Wave flight Technical Park 2006
Wild River Rapids under 1.0 m Rapid River Reverchon 2009
Black Pearl under 1.3 m with companion, under 1.4 m without companion ranger Weber 2011
Powder kegs under 1.2 m with companion, under 1.3 m without companion Breakdance Huss 2011
The Flying Cutlass under 1.1 m with companion, under 1.3 m without companion Ship swing Huss 2011
Skull rock under 1.1 m or more Mountain and valley railway Zamperla 2011
Apollo under 1.1 m with companion, under 1.5 m without companion Chain carousel AK rides 2016


The Ultimate

In 1991, five people with whiplash were hospitalized after the two trains of the roller coaster "The Ultimate" collided at low speed. The attraction was hit again in 1994 when an axle of the fully occupied train broke.

In both 1994 and 2014, the roller coaster train collided with a deer on the route. Most of the route runs at ground level through forest areas. The animals had entered the park despite a fence.

The Twister (Treetop Twister)

The 20-year-old student Gemma Savage died of the consequences of her injuries sustained on June 20, 2001 after a collision between two rotating carriages on the “Treetop Twister” roller coaster. The roller coaster only opened in May of the same year. The student was sitting in a car with her boyfriend when the system automatically stopped the journey because the car in front had not reached the end of the block section. Rescue workers and an electrician were called. The latter switched to manual control at a control panel, which released the brake for the student's car and the car hit the broken-down car. Investigations showed a chain of different causes. In 2006, the park operator, the electrician, but also the French manufacturer of the railway were found guilty. The latter had mixed up two cables during installation, so that a security system did not work. The student's friend was slightly injured in the accident. After the accident, the roller coaster was renamed "The Twister" in 2002.

On May 30, 2019, a 7-year-old boy fell from one of the wagons of the roller coaster “The Twister”. He was flown to a nearby hospital by helicopter.

Black Pearl

On July 14, 2016, a man almost fell from his seat of the “Black Pearl” ranger when a safety bolt popped open. The 55-year-old man, who has learning difficulties, was only prevented from falling by his wrist caregiver.

Web links

Commons : Lightwater Valley  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. a b Angry Birds sparks tourism boost hope. BBC News, May 21, 2013, accessed June 9, 2019 .
  2. ^ A b The History of Lightwater Valley in Ripon, Yorkshire. Retrieved June 9, 2019 .
  3. ^ A b Adventures in Airtime: The Story of Lightwater Valley. (Video) In: youtube. May 14, 2018, accessed June 9, 2019 .
  4. LightwaterV: 09 10 2012 Podcast. October 11, 2012, accessed June 10, 2019 .
  5. a b trainsandstuff: Lightwater Valley leaflet from 1994. November 23, 2008, accessed June 10, 2019 .
  6. Ultimate - Coasterpedia - The Roller Coaster Wiki. Retrieved June 10, 2019 .
  7. a b Mum screamed 'hysterically' as boy, 7, hung from back of rollercoaster carriage then fell 30ft to the ground at Lightwater Valley theme park. The Sun, May 30, 2019, accessed June 10, 2019 (UK English).
  8. Rebecca Perring: Rollercoaster decapitates young deer and leaves screaming passengers showered in blood. September 29, 2014, accessed June 10, 2019 .
  9. student this after fairground crash . June 21, 2001 ( [accessed June 10, 2019]).
  10. ^ Theme Park UK: Twister at Lightwater Valley Accident Explained. November 4, 2018, accessed June 11, 2019 .
  11. ^ Firm guilty over park ride death . November 30, 2006 ( [accessed June 11, 2019]).
  12. ^ Theme Park UK: Twister at Lightwater Valley Accident Explained. November 4, 2018, accessed June 10, 2019 .
  13. Horror in the amusement park: boy falls out of the roller coaster. May 31, 2019, accessed June 10, 2019 .
  14. Jeremy Armstrong: Carer saves man from plunging 85ft off theme park ride after safety bar opens. Mirror, July 25, 2016, accessed June 10, 2019 .