Paragliding in the West Midlands of England

If you're in England, and you might want to go paragliding in the West Midlands. In particular, there are some mountainous regions that attract many paraglider and other foot-launched pilots during good weather.

OK, so England isn't known for it's great weather, but when it does fine up a bit, there's a lot of flying activity.

If you're keen, you can go paragliding in the West Midlands counties of Gloucestershire, Herefordshire, Shropshire, Staffordshire, Warwickshire and Worcestershire. Herefordshire is a good one.

From here, its not far to the Black Mountains and Malvern Hills which apparently can be practically swarming with foot-launched aircraft on a good day!

Some big-name schools can help you go paragliding in the West Midlands. They include Beyond Extreme and Para-Excellence. Beyond Extreme is based in Shropshire, central to all the bigger towns and cities. The shop is located in Church Stretton, about 15 miles from the end of the M54. Para-Excellence is situated not too far away, on the North Wales coast.

Another school to keep in mind is Airtopia, look them up in Gloucestershire.


The climate over England as a whole is classed as 'temperate'. Southwesterlies bring mild and often rainy conditions over the whole country on a regular basis. Temperatures vary over a fairly small range really. The mercury doesn't often dip below -5°C (23°F), and it stays under about 30°C (86°F) most of the time as well. All that wet air from the ocean ensures that snow often falls on higher ground, such as those paragliding mountains mentioned already.

The highest temperature ever recorded in England was 38.5°C (101.3°F), although that was not in the Midlands. I bet there were a lot of Whinging Poms that day, hehe! No offence meant, I'm half Pommy myself :-)

The lowest temperature recorded was in the West Midlands, in Shropshire. It was -26.1°C (-15.0 °F), back in January 1982 at Edgmond. Wow. I had to read that again in the original source, couldn't believe it. It hardly ever gets below 5°C here in Adelaide, South Australia. And even that's a bit much for my Singaporean wife!


Everything is available through the schools, basically. Never flown? Try a big 'what's it like?' tandem ride off a mountain slope, getting a feel for flying the paraglider on the way down. Dead keen to learn to fly? Get into some courses, get qualified and start flying cross country in thermals after getting towed up in a large field. Large by English standards anyway :-)

If you've trained elsewhere, you need to check with the locals before paragliding in the West Midlands. There are numerous special requirements, since it's often other people's land being used. Should be no problems if you stick to flying in conjunction with paraglider school contacts. Gliding club airfields are commonly used, many of them belonging to the Long Mynd Soaring Club.

Through Beyond Extreme, rather complete packages are available. They can organize transport, accommodation, catering plus the activity itself. They actually offer more than just paragliding.

Since August 2003, Beyond Extreme have been using a fifty acre field near Oswestry in Shropshire for their towing operations. If the weather's not too wild, you can contact them and head out for a day's flying regardless of the wind direction!

If you go paragliding in the West Midlands, thermals can take pilots to 2000 m (6000 ft) or so. But regardless of the English summer weather on the ground, it can get really cold up there! When you think about it, the milder thermal soaring conditions in England probably make the country more paraglider-friendly than the 'big air' regions of the world.

I can remember seeing a giant dust-devil just out of Alice Springs once, in central Australia. It stretched unbroken from ground level to cloudbase at around 12000 feet above ground. Not sure that I'd like to fly through that in a paraglider! Another time, in an L13 blanik sailplane, I flew through the dust-devil core of a humungous thermal. It was like someone hit the underbelly with a giant rubber mallet! Again, not sure I'd like to experience that sort of air in a paraglider.

My Dad's from Essex, one day I might just decide to get back to my roots and visit. I might just go paragliding in the West Midlands myself, if I do!


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