NDAC: Top UK dive training quarry closes

NDAC: Top UK dive training quarry closes

Fri, 18/02/2022 - 17:20
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The National Diving & Activity Centre (NDAC) has issued a 'notice of site closure' today, Friday 18 February 2022.

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The loss of this exceptional training resource will be deeply felt within the recreational and technical diving community. NDAC is a unique site in that offers diving in the 6 metre to 80 metre range

The National Diving & Activity Centre is based at a large flooded quarry in Tidenham, Gloucestershire, England. This dive site is located on the English / Welsh border at Chepstow, just a few minutes' drive from the M48 Severn Bridge. For 52 years, this was a toll bridge - cars would pay £5.60 to cross the River Severn. When bridge tolls were scrapped on 17 December 2018, NDAC suddenly became financially more attractive to dive. 

NDAC is permanently closed. We are not taking bookings for leisure activities or public diving.

Tidenham / Dayhouse Quarry

Originally, the site was mined for limestone and it was known as Tidenham or Dayhouse Quarry. The site closed in 1992, possibly due to flooding, which was considered severe. In 1996, plans were submitted by TS Thomas & Sons and MJ Carter Associates to the Forest of Dean District Council, to restore the site and build a hotel, diving training facilities, toilets and shower facilities, a compressor house and car parking. 

The National National Diving and Activity Centre opened its doors in 2003.

Underwater Scuba Attractions

The National Diving & Activity Centre is a unique training facility, in that it provides the opportunity to train divers at all levels and depths. It has been the go-to place for technical diving because it is 80m / 262 ft deep. 

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The current owners have invested in the site. Over the years, they have upgraded the facilities, and sunk a number of underwater attractions, at a range of depths (from 6m / 20ft to 76m / 249 ft) for visitors to explore. These include planes, armoured vehicles, sunken boats and helicopters. 

At present, the North Sea marker buoy is NDAC's deepest attraction and is found towards the South West Corner of the quarry. Divers hit the top of this at 72m / 236 ft, and it is 76m / 249 ft to the bottom. 

Dive clubs, centres, professional instructors and freedivers will really miss the unique facilities that NDAC provides.

The loss of this exceptional and unique training resource will be deeply felt. Rosemary E Lunn

Divers' Response

Divers quickly responded to the news that NDAC has closed. Rob Sutherland from Cardiff Scuba stated "many of us have been there from the very beginning and watched the site grow. This is a very sad day for all divers and especially from our perspective, for our school. The facilities at the NDAC have supported us with dive education at all levels and supported us in so many rewarding achievements. We give all the staff at NDAC our sincerest thanks for the service you have given to the dive community over the years." 

"Sad times... Not just from a professional point of view but also not running into friends and colleagues." - Oliver Van Overbeek, RAID UK · 

"A great training and play ground, never got to dive there enough sadly." Sally Cartwright, Bluebird Diver, former SAA Chairman

"Was a great place and resource for divers, especially those who were looking for depth training." Gary Kelham, South West Diving

"Shame to see NDAC close. It was a great site for deeper training and we’ve been going there for almost 20 years." Toni Norton, Purple Turtle Diving

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The author - Rosemary E Lunn - pictured with Marc Sturch of Eagle Divers (left) and TDI's Mark Powell (right) after diving NDAC in October 2021. 

It's going to be a struggle to find another good centre with such great facilities and logistics for tec divers

"Thank you to all the team especially Ashley who were always great and helped our club and divers whenever they could. You will be sorely missed." Barzero Scuba Diving Club

"This is the best lake ever and I was so hoping to get back this year to see the new stuff. I was one of the first divers to experience the wigwams and have many happy memories of weekends with you." Sue Billington

"We learnt to dive here, became members and loved being able to dive in frankly the best inland dive site in the UK. All of you made it and we loved being able to dive regularly before moving away." Richard Godfrey

"Without your facility my diving exploits would have been far more basic. Probably goes for lots of members." Bob Cantwell

"Such sad news for everyone, and gutted for the diving industry as a whole for losing such a great site, especially as it had so much to offer in terms of diver training facilities." Lisa Frew

Membership Question

Divers have asked NDAC about membership refunds. Ashley Bryce, NDAC Manager responded stating that all memberships had been extended by seven months to account for the Covid-19 lockdown. 

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What's next for NDAC?

At the time of writing this, it is not known what will happen to NDAC. Rumours have been circulating for a number of weeks that the Ministry of Defence has bought this dive site. This is unlikely. There are other rumours that the quarry is going to be developed into a holiday park. Whether recreational and technical divers will be able to access and dive these unique waters again, is not known at this point. 

A spokesman for NDAC said "We would like to thank all our customers for their support over the years. If you have any questions, please use our contact form."

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