Men in overalls, not tights, greet us as we arrive for a packed weekend around Robin Hood’s old Sherwood Forest stomping ground.

We’re aiming for an archery lesson at The Adrenalin Jungle. Around us are people wrestling in sumo suits, firing lasers at clay targets or getting togged up for paintball fights.

My daughter Sophie stifles the giggles as Dave, our archery instructor, explains that women have to mind their twin assets don’t get twanged. The only boobs I make are failing to hit the target. I’m excused; my only archery experience is abetting my little brother as he fired toy sucker arrows at mannequins in Marks and Spencer’s bra department.

Our weekend base is a National Trust heated wooden camping pod at Clumber Park. It’s basic, but clean and comfortable. Sophie’s excited because she has the freedom of the woods and parkland around us. We’re mid-way between Sherwood Pines Forest Park, with its family cycle trail, adventure play, sand play village and other outdoor activities and Wetlands Animal Park at Sutton Cum Lound.

At Wetlands there are monkeys and meerkats, deer, ducks, a donkey, coatimundi, cheeky chipmunks and friendly wallabies, to name a few. Sophie’s here for close encounters of the feathered kind and a birds of prey experience. There’s lots of “aahing” when she spots Itchy and Scratchy, fully-grown burrowing owls who still look like babies. Kookaburra siblings Bruce, Matilda and Cookie regard us curiously, whilst lovely Luna, the tawny owl, flutters her feathers for attention.

It’s Ghost, who head falconer Phil’s raised since she was a ball of fluff, who gives Sophie her ‘barn owl experience’. She’s also going to learn to fly Tyr, a magnificent male Harris Hawk. Sophie falls instantly in love with Ghost, who is as cheeky as she is appealing. She swoops to Sophie’s glove, lured by pieces of fresh meat. When it’s Tyr’s turn, he demonstrates his agility, deftly swooping between our faces, the brush of his wings like a warm breath across our cheeks. Days later and Sophie’s still gooey-eyed over Ghost’s antics. Her eyes light up when she learns that the Wetlands centre offers a falconer day experience.

The words of Sophie’s older sister ring in my ears as I step on to a Segway – one of those self-balancing personal transporters – at Sherwood Pines. “You’ve just got to get someone to film your ride so that I can send it to You’ve Been Framed!” she’d laughed. In fact, I don’t hit anything or, indeed, fall off like George W. Bush or Piers Morgan. I whizz ( at up to 11mph) between trees and sail over bumps.

Sophie isn’t yet heavy enough for a Segway (minimum weight, seven stones/44kg), so she takes to the treetops on a Go Ape! adventure course at Sherwood Pines.

She eschews the ‘easier’ routes for ‘extreme’ challenges, coming down to earth with a bump or six after zip-sliding from tree to tree.

Her one-word verdict sums up the weekend: “Exhilarating”.

ESSENTIALS Clumber Park (National Trust) campsite Nearby lake, playground, barbecue area, cafe and cycle hire. Immaculate toilets/showers in heated portable cabins. Small shop. Camping pods are £105 per weekend (up to five people). 506581.

… but if you prefer a little more luxury Ye Olde Bell Hotel, Retford. 705121 Former coaching inn on the original Great North Road with crackling log fires. Family rooms available.

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