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UK Inland Diving

Reader Reviews:

Dive Site: National Diving & Activity Centre

National Diving & Activity Centre - Courtesy of the NDAC
National Diving & Activity Centre - Courtesy of the NDAC
'Inverted Solitude' sculpture - courtesy of Gareth Lock
Preparing to install the 'Inverted Solitude' sculpture - courtesy of Gareth Lock

Location: Tidenham, Chepstow, Glos. NP16 7LH

Description: Inland quarry

Depth: 80 metres max (262 feet)

Visibility: Very good

Rating: *****

The National Diving & Activity Centre is a flooded quarry offering a range of depths from 0-9, 9-18, 26, 45, 50 and 80 metres.

The waters have many attractions including, amongst several others, a North Sea diving bell, a Saracen armoured vehicle and a Stalwart amphibious vehicle. The water's edge can be reached by walking, or using the courtesy vehicles that will take you and your kit from the parking areas to the 144 metres of pontoon every 20 minutes. And to help you further kit trolleys and climbing points are also available.

There are full rescue facilities and fully trained staff, classrooms for instructor and club use, a training tank, a shop, a brand new state of the art gas room, equipment hire, equipment servicing, a cafe, changing rooms and toilets. Also on offer is a range of outdoor activities including abseiling, 4x4 off-road driving experiences and overnight survival experiences.

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Rob, BSAC Sports Diver

Dived at NDAC on Monday 29/5/06, the staff were very helpful, plenty of parking, no queues just a nice easy days diving. Definately worth a visit.

Neil Palser

Just passed my Open Water here last weekend 5/11/06. An easy place to dive due to courtesy minibus. Wasn't very busy. Visibility was fairly poor. Could do with a shower. Staff very friendly.

Rachel Cadman

First the bad news, the catering van tries to sell fruit to divers - how sick is that? Now the good news, a great snack after the first dive is the breakfast bap that includes sausage, bacon, black pudding, fried egg and mushrooms all in a huge bun. Follow the second dive with the curry and chips and you have had the best diving day you could imagine. Visibility great at 40m.

Diving Foodies

I have dived this site a couple of years ago and found it to be a good option to Stoney Cove. Its got a great depth range and I noticed that when you drop over the ledge that the vis was A1. I would recommend it to any technical diver. I think as time goes on that the facilities will get even better and I will look forward to diving it in the near future. Another plus for the site is you get to park easier than Stoney (no getting up at 4am to get a good plot). After you have exhausted yourself with your twins & slings walking to the dive entry, diving and having a long walk back to the car (this can't be healthy exerting yourself after a lengthy dive), instead here they pick you up by your car and you are taken to the waters edge and picked up again after your dive.


Inverted solitude is a lone figure suspended upside down beneath a floating platform in The National Diving and Activities Centre, Chepstow, UK. The site, originally a stone quarry, is the deepest inland body of water in the UK, reaching depths of over 80m. The pontoon where the sculpture is permanently fixed is currently used for national free diving competitions and training.

The sculpture, cast from BBC presenter Mike Fishetti and constructed from cement and fibreglass, was filmed as part of a production for SMART Art on the BBC network. The programme documented the process from initial casting to installation and is due to be aired early next year.

Inverted Solitude aims to explore reflection, space, isolation and extended being. When viewed from below, it reflects a mirror image onto the surface of the water, suggesting that a figure is standing on the platform staring down into the deep. This reversal of context aims to create a portal into our own world, revealing an alter presence. The inverted and lonely demeanour of the figure also shows a man distanced from society. Arms folded resolutely, he is left to reflect on a life in which pride and self obsession have created an impenetrable barrier.

Jason deCaires Taylor

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