Published: 06:00, 26 June 2019
| Updated: 15:16, 13 September 2019
The people behind Kent’s most unusual adventure golf course have revealed more details about the quirky initiative.
The course will open in 11th century Rochester Cathedral's medieval nave in August.
And those behind it, the cathedral and Rochester Bridge Trust, are hoping it will kill two birds with one stone by attracting younger crowds to the place of worship and educating them about bridges.
What should I expect?
Each of the nine holes will be accompanied by a model of a different bridge, including the original Roman bridge at Rochester, and the Queen Elizabeth II Bridge at Dartford.
There will also be information signs at each base.
It was designed and paid for by Rochester Bridge Trust and constructed by HM Adventure Golf and coincides with the £10.5 million refurbishment work at the town's crossings and a separate project to increase education around civil engineering.
What do those behind it have to say?
The Revd. Rachel Phillips, canon for mission and growth at the cathedral, said: “For more than 1,400 years, Rochester Cathedral has been a centre of learning for the community. By temporarily installing an educational adventure golf course we aim to continue that mission, giving people the opportunity to learn while they take part in a fun activity, in what for many might be a previously unvisited building.
“The course forms the centrepiece of a ‘Building Bridges’ theme running through the summer. As well as the physical bridge which has stood over the River Medway since Roman times, the invisible but equally historic links between the Cathedral and the surrounding community are also bridges of a kind; we hope that, while playing adventure golf, visitors will reflect on the bridges that need to be built in their own lives and in our world today.”
Operations manager at the trust Andrew Freeman added: “We are always looking for new ways to engage with young people and inspire them to take an interest in bridges and civil engineering. Joining forces with the Cathedral to set up this educational activity within such a stunning setting is the ideal opportunity to reach out to the community and get families and young people thinking about bridges while they have fun.
“Learning through play is at the heart of many of our educational initiatives, as we introduce new concepts and ideas to young people away from the classroom environment.”
When can I go along?
The course is opening officially on Thursday, August 1 and will remain in place until Sunday, September 1, welcoming visitors between 9am and 4pm.
Previews will run from Saturday, July 27 to Wednesday, July 31.
Daytime sessions will be free of charge.
More information will be released nearer the time.
Why does the church want to attract younger people?
Congregation numbers have been falling for a while, with you younger worshippers increasingly hard to come by.
Elsewhere similar approaches have been deployed to appeal to the illusive demographic, a 40ft helter skelter in Norwich for example and a gin and prosecco festival in Peterborough.
Rochester has already held one alternative event this month, its Come and See giant picnic including a 'be a monk' tour, bell ringing and a puppet show.
These haven't been popular with everyone in the church, with one bishop saying such events were "not in keeping with the sanctity of these wonderful places of worship."
More by this authorEd McConnell
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