Go Ape: The Family Guide – What you need to know for Tree Top Fun

Go Ape’s famous Tree Top Adventure is available all around the UK. Read this family’s guide to Go Ape…

Go Ape Family Guide

Go Ape has high rope courses and forest adventures up and down the country.

We went along to Go Ape in the Wyre Forest to bring you this family’s guide to Go Ape.

Either read this guide through end to end, or click on something in the Contents.

 


The Go Ape Tree Top Adventure

Some high rope courses just look like a bunch of telegraph poles with ropes, swings, and nets between them. Not the Go Ape Tree Top Adventure.

Their rope courses are among the trees and are in fantastic scenery, and make the best use of the landscape. At some Go Ape centres, you can even fly across reservoirs or waterfalls.

The Tree Top Adventure is the main Go Ape activity and can be found at each Go Ape location (see Locations later). There are also Junior Tree Tops and Forest Segways (more on that later).

Go Ape Zip WiresZip Wires

Each Tree Top Adventure is slightly different, but you can expect to find Zip Wires, Crossings, and Tarzan Swings.

Courses are usually divided into different sections, and you make your way around them in order. Many sections finish with a zip wire.

The Zip Wires at Go Ape are fantastic!

They are really long and you fly over and through the trees.

Sometimes the zip wires will be on one side of a valley, so you can fly high above the ground (see later section if you’re not too keen on heights).

Click on the picture to see a larger version and try and spot me.  You can hardly see me – that’s how long this zip wire was – and this was only one.

Go Ape Tree CrossingsTree Crossings

Each Tree Top Adventure has a number of ‘crossings’. These are crossings you make between tree-to-tree.

They get quite inventive at Go Ape. Some crossings you’re walking a beam, others a tightrope and one was even through barrels floating up in the tree canopy (not my favourite – see our video to see what I mean!).

Don’t worry – you’re fully harnessed in at all times (see later section on Safety) – so even if you were to fall off a crossing, you would just float and get yourself back on it (we never saw anyone fall, despite how wobbly some crossings were).

Go Ape Tarzan SwingsTarzan Swings

Another item often found in the Tree Top Adventure is the Tarzan Swing.

Here you swing from a platform holding a rope (harness attached, of course) and land in a net at the other side.

Tarzan noises are optional.


Go Ape Tree Top Adventure Video

Watch our video to see the sort of things you might find on a Tree Top Adventure.


Tree Top Junior

Height and age restrictions do apply to the Tree Top Adventure (see Who Can Go Ape?), but some Go Ape locations have a Tree Top Junior course.

We have a detailed review of the Go Ape Tree Top Junior. We highly recommend giving Tree Top Junior a try, especially if you’ve not done anything like this before.

You can watch our video below to get an idea of what a Tree Top Junior course looks like. This was filmed at Go Ape in Cannock Chase.

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We highly recommend giving Go Ape Tree Top Junior a try


Forest Segways

Segways were invented in the USA as a ‘personal transport device’ and you may have seen these on the TV.

They are electrically operated vehicles that you stand on…and they only have two wheels.

Go Ape have a number of Forest Segways where you spend about an hour zipping along the forest floor instead of the tree tops.

A number of Go Ape locations have Forest Segways (see Go Ape Locations below).

We’ve not tried the Forest Segways yet, but they’re on the list to do 🙂


Who can Go Ape?

Go Ape Child Heights

Go Ape is a family activity, but for obvious safety reasons, age and height restrictions apply, as well as the number of supervising adults….yep supervising adults. After given training, and showing that you understand how to navigate the course safely, you are responsible for navigating the course yourself. You will also be responsible for any children you take.

For Tree Top Adventures children must be at least 10 years old and 1.4 metres tall. One adult can supervise a maximum of two children aged 10-15 (the number of children you can supervise increases for 16-year-olds and older).

The Tree Top Junior course is designed for children aged 6 to 12 years-old. However, under 6’s can do the course as long as they are at least 1 metre tall and are likely to enjoy it. One adult can supervise two children, but only one child is recommended if it is their first time.

The Forest Segways have an age restriction of at least ten years old, and a weight restriction. Riders must be between 7 and 19.5 stone. This is needed to make the Segways balance.

One parent can supervise up to 3 under-16s on the Forest Segways.

(Please check the latest rules on the Go Ape website when booking).


Safety

For the Tree Top Adventure you are given a full safety briefing, and a chance to try out and demonstrate what you have learnt.

You are strapped into a climbing harness, which has two safety lines. At all times you have at least one safety line attached to the safety wire that runs around the course.

As the supervising adult, you must make sure your child understands how to clip on the safety lines, and for ensuring they are clipped on correctly.

It’s not as complicated as it sounds, and there’s plenty of practice before starting the course.

Go Ape also have lots of easy to follow instructions at each obstacle, showing you exactly what to hold and what to be clipped onto.

There are also other rules, such as only one person on a crossing at a time, and a maximum of 3 on a tree platform.

The first section of the course is a low-height set of obstacles where you show the instructors that you know what to do.

The harness is secured and adjusted by the instructors to make sure it’s fitted correctly.


But I’m scared of heights!

Go Ape - scared of heightsDon’t worry, you’re not alone. So am I!

Mountain walking doesn’t bother me. Flying is no problem. But up a ladder to paint the stairwell, and vertigo kicks in for me. It’s as if my eyes can’t focus properly on the ground.

My kids, however, are like monkeys and love climbing walls and abseiling. So, it was time to ‘suck it up’!

Go Ape are used to people who are not too keen on heights, and plenty have overcome their fears on the course. (And they can rescue you if you do get stuck).

Also, after trying out the first section, which is not too high, you can quit and get a full refund. You can’t get fairer than that.

Despite my problem with heights, for the most part, I really enjoyed the Tree Top Adventure.

The saying “don’t look down” doesn’t work well as you have to look at your feet for many of the obstacles, however, you are concentrating on how to navigate and you soon get used to working at tree level.

We found that each section got progressively higher, so you can work your way up and if it starts getting too much, you can skip the next section.

If it’s busy you may be waiting for the previous people to clear a crossing and platform, so there’s plenty of time to catch your breath and get used to the height.

It’s important to remember that you are attached to steel safety lines at all times, and if you follow the procedures correctly, you will not fall.


What to Wear for Go Ape

You need to make sure your mid-section is covered so that the harness doesn’t rub.

Also, hoop earrings are not allowed and long hair must be tied back – this is so nothing gets snagged when crossing the course.

Be prepared to get mucky, especially when you land in the bark at the end of the zip wires. Bringing a change of clothes for afterwards is advised.

Slip on/off shoes (flip flops, sandals, etc.) are not allowed, and footwear that supports your ankle is advised (I took walking boots).

Gloves are also advised. I took some padded fingerless cycling gloves, which made holding ropes a little easier.

A full list of what to wear is provided on the Go Ape website.


What about those not doing the Go Ape activities?

There are often some refreshments in the visitors centre near Go Ape locationsNot everyone may be able to do the course, especially if you have to look after those too young.

However, most of the course will have a footpath so that you can follow your family in the trees and take some great photos.

Most of the Go Ape locations are in woodland visitor areas, such as those run by the Forestry Commission, and so there could be a snack bar, play area, and other activities such as cycling.

You could quite easily turn the whole day into a great day out for all the family.


How long does the Go Ape course take?

This will depend on how long the course is and how busy.

It took us nearly 3 and a half hours. However, we spent a while up in the trees waiting for a family in front of us to safely clear the obstacles. A less busy time and you may be a bit quicker, so you would probably expect 2-3 hours, including time for the safety briefing.

Make sure everyone has visited the toilet before your session starts.


Go Ape Locations

Go Ape is located in most of the country. If you’re staying or camping in the area, then consider trying out one of their courses.

Some of these courses get very busy, so pre-booking via the Go Ape website is advised.

The table below shows where you can do activities like Forest Segways.

Go Ape are continually enhancing their courses, so please check their website for the latest before booking.

Location Tree Top Adventure Tree Top Junior Forest Segways Zip Wire Trekking
Scotland
Go Ape Aberfoyle, near Glasglow Tree Top Adventure Zip Wire Trek
Go Ape Crathes Castle, near Aberdeen Tree Top Adventure
Go Ape Peebles, Glentress Forest, near Edinburgh Tree Top Adventure
North of England
Go Ape Dalby Forest, North Yorkshire Tree Top Adventure Junior Segways
Go Ape Delamere, Cheshire Tree Top Adventure Junior Segways
Go Ape Grizedale Forest, near Hawkshead Tree Top Adventure Junior Segways Zip Wire Trek
Go Ape Matfen, Northumberland Tree Top Adventure
Go Ape Rivington, near Bolton Tree Top Adventure
Go Ape Whinlatter Forest, near Keswick Tree Top Adventure Segways Zip Wire Trek
The Midlands
Go Ape Buxton Tree Top Adventure
Go Ape Cannock Chase Tree Top Adventure Junior Segways
Go Ape Sherwood Pines Tree Top Adventure Junior Segways
Go Ape Wyre Forest Tree Top Adventure Junior
Wales
Go Ape Margam Country Park, near Swansea Tree Top Adventure
South East of England
Go Ape Alice Holt Forest, Surrey Tree Top Adventure Junior
Go Ape Bedgebury, Kent Tree Top Adventure Junior
Go Ape Black Park, Buckinghamshire Tree Top Adventure Junior Segways
Go Ape Bracknell Tree Top Adventure Junior Segways
Go Ape Crawley Tilgate Park Tree Top Adventure
Go Ape Leeds Castle Tree Top Adventure Junior
Go Ape Moors Valley Tree Top Adventure Junior Segways
Go Ape Southampton Tree Top Adventure Junior
Go Ape Thetford Tree Top Adventure Junior Segways
Go Ape Wendover Woods Tree Top Adventure
Go Ape Woburn Safari Park Tree Top Adventure
London
Go Ape Alexandra Palace Tree Top Adventure Junior
Go Ape Battersea Park Tree Top Adventure Junior
Go Ape Chessington Tree Top Adventure Junior
Go Ape Trent Park Tree Top Adventure
South West of England
Go Ape Forest of Dean Tree Top Adventure Junior Segways
Go Ape Haldon Forest, near Exeter Tree Top Adventure

With thanks to Go Ape for enabling us to bring you this guide.

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Father to 3 kids, who loves getting out and about (hiking, running, camping, cycling, canoeing...) Co-founded Get Out With The Kids to help other parents enjoy the outdoors with their family.

1 Comment
  1. Our kids went to Go Ape Junior at Delemere Forest last April. They are still talking about it now:)

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