Lightwater Valley is a theme park in North Stainley, North Yorkshire, England. The park is best known for being the home of Europe’s longest rollercoaster – The Ultimate.
Lightwater Valley was founded by Mr Robert Staveley and initially evolved from a small farm attraction. The park features around 40 other rides and also features an adjacent shopping village and restaurant.
The park is now owned and managed by Livingstone Leisure Ltd. The park attracts approximately 500,000 visitors per year.
In 1969 Lightwater Valley started life as a small self-pick fruit farm attraction which was quite popular with the local community. The farm was owned by the Staveley family, who had been in ownership of the land way back until 1516 when Cardinal Wolsey handed the grounds over to John Staveley. The farm was dealt a crippling blow in 1976 as a severe drought was brought to the region, having a huge effect on the strawberry crop which was the main source of the farm’s revenue. Later that year a lake was excavated to help reduce the effects of a future drought. The lake became hugely popular with visitors in the warmer months of the year and the Staveleys quickly began to see new business opportunities in the form of entertainment for visitors. These early attractions included an adventure playground (later Fort William), canoes, rowing boats, a circus, and later on, a range of other rare and unique attractions such as a petting farm, BMX bikes, pedal carts (later Moon Cars), Skate Karts, petrol driven single and double seated Go Karts, a pitch and putt golf course, a hell slide, a water chute (‘Devil’s Cascade’, later re-themed to ‘Toad Hole’) and many more. The park advertised itself as country park and self pick fruit farm during this time. A range of different fairground rides were introduced into the entrance areas of the park, such as chair swings, carousels, dodgems and waltzers. During this time the Lightwater Shopping Village was established.