“Puzzles are like songs. A good puzzle can give you all the pleasure of being duped that a mystery story can.”
The Silver Hedgehog and friends recently got wind of an outdoor escape experience ‘Be.Wild.Er.’ Being quite good at escape rooms we decided to pay a Be.Wild.Er a visit.
Booking was a simple case of clicking through the website and choosing a date and time. Once booked we received an email with meeting instructions and directions to Amerton Farm – the location of the Be.Wild.Er experience.
Amerton Farm is actually a day out in itself and well worth a family visit. The farm houses a collection of family friendly small businesses such as a coffee shop, an ice cream parlour and a narrow gauge steam train that takes people on laps of the farm. They also have a collection of animals you can get close to, feed and walk such as Alpacas, as well as farm animals, horses and geese. It’s quite a remarkable hidden gem.
Our Visit To Be WildEr Outdoor Puzzle Experience
Once we arrived at the farm, we made a quick call to our host Lisa who came to meet us and walk us across the farm to her BE.Wild.Er forest school area. Along the way, Lisa told us about her outdoor escape room. Everything used to create the outdoor escape puzzle is recycled and repurposed. When not using the area for puzzles Lisa uses the space as a Forest School for children.
Lisa explained how we could stay ‘Covid safe’ while in the escape area (A table was provided with sprays, wipes, gels etc.) Once the Health and Safety briefing was completed Lisa explained the premise and rules of the game…
‘Professor Raymond Douglas has cultivated a powerful plant that will change the world: food supplies, fuel and fertilising will be forever altered for the better.
But there are always those that desire to control such power for their own ends, not for the greater good and they’ve almost tracked him down.
So he’s hidden its seeds on a campsite deep in the Staffordshire countryside, exposed to air which will see them quickly deteriorate, rendering them non-viable.
Leaving behind a series of clues and a controlled seed deposit box linked to a trusted friend,
they need to be located and placed in the box within 60 minutes so that their structure and nuclear DNA sequence can be maintained by a specialist enzyme
Solve the clues, recover the seeds, ensure their continued existence and entrust their benefits to everyone.’
Once we pressed a button, the timer started and we had 60 minutes to find the missing seeds and put them in a safe place, simple… or is it?
Having completed several escape rooms successfully on previous occasions, we set to work like a well oiled machine. One of us started looking for patterns in puzzles, one of us explored the area looking for clues, one of us read the instructions over and over again, one of us got attacked by a rather inquisitive wasp (well we were outdoors!)
We got stumped on a couple of clues and normally when this happens you get a helpful prompt on a monitor, however as we are outdoors we had no screen to check. What we did have was our host who was keeping a careful eye on our clue solving from the perimeter of the escape area. We quickly shouted over to Lisa who then provided a new train of thought for us to consider, (without giving us the answer). We then worked out what we needed and continued our attempt to solve the puzzle.
We could sense the time ticking away and unfortunately we failed to solve the puzzle within the 60 minutes, but to our surprise our host told us to carry on as we were so immersed in the experience. We became successful just a few more minutes later.
Afterwards Lisa gave us a debrief, took our team photo and walked us back to the farm entrance.
A couple of things really surprised me about Be.Wild.Er. First, the dynamics of an outdoor escape room are totally different to the usual converted offices you encounter. Being outdoors gives you more things to interact with. You could be interacting with a prop one minute and looking at a tree the next. It’s also quite a physical experience, the ground is uneven and there are small hills to run up. It certainly gets your body working, running from one side of the area to the other while locating clues and shouting across to your team with your findings.
The other surprising observation is the skill that Lisa and her husband have at turning unwanted items into puzzles that need solving and also using the environment as inspiration for the various puzzle activities.
The Silver Hedgehog Thoughts BeWildEr: Outdoor Puzzle Experience
An outside escape experience is definitely a different dynamic to a traditional escape room
Cleverly integrating the surrounding nature with recycled homemade props and puzzles. Without giving anything away we played with some wire, a plate, a briefcase and a few other surprising objects. Once of the puzzles really did stump us and I can’t help think that a little more explanation would have been useful. We were a team of 4 and we almost completed it within 60 mins.
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