A Viking-inspired activity centre in North Devon is the latest business to benefit from the Start Up Loans Scheme via delivery partner SWIG Finance.

Norse Hawk Activity Centre has received a £10,000 loan to help create an ‘ultimate Viking experience’ that emulates Old Norse philosophy. 

Located in Bishop’s Tawton, this brand new attraction offers a Norse-style axe throwing experience where players can try their hand at throwing angels, hatchets and bearded Viking axes. Players will also learn safe throwing techniques and can go on to compete in warrior games where the champion will be crowned worthy of raiding with Ragnar.  

Outside you can find large log round targets for Norse tomahawk throwing, along with a Viking Garden which boasts a 6ft longship firepit where you can look forward to Viking-themed evenings and storytelling. 

As well as all of this, the site also offers a gym space for ‘Warrior Workouts’ and has a dedicated community area with space for local groups and craft workshops.

Business owner Sophie Petrie, who began as a personal trainer, was inspired by Viking culture and their thirst for adventure and wanted to translate this into a modern activity centre where “fitness and outdoor activities meet art”.  

So far, interest has been building, with the taster sessions selling out quickly 

As Devon’s latest tourist attraction, Norse Hawk Activity Centre will help to provide that much needed boost to the local economy following a period of economic disruption from the COVID-19 pandemic. As well as this, Sophie is planning to create up to 6 new full-time jobs over the next three years. 

Of the funding Sophie commented “I wanted to blend my passion for axe throwing and training with Viking-style storytelling to build a truly unique experience. Norse Hawk Activity is a place to have fun with family and friends, and create those much-needed shared moments. This funding has been integral to building these unique event spaces and getting ready to receive customers. My business manager, Mark, was fantastic and very supportive throughout the application process”. 

SWIG’s business manager, Mark Thayre, commented “Sophie has created a unique experience that is a first-of-its-kind in Devon. Through her determination, Sophie has been able to get this new attraction ready for business in time for the reopening of the tourism sector. With the boom in staycation bookings we are sure that this will be a successful time for Sophie”. 

Richard Bearman, Managing Director at Start Up Loans, said: “Start Up Loans exists to help aspiring businesses owners and early-stage businesses to get access to the finance and support they need to thrive and so I’m delighted that Start Up Loans has been able to support Sophie Petrie and play a part in the success of Norse Hawk Activity Centre.”