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tried & tested

When there are so many places to choose from it's hard to know where to visit! In good or bad weather, with very young children or older teens, activity venues or quiet walks, every venue will offer something different with a variety of facilites available. We will add our thoughts on places that we have Tried & Tested so that you are well-informed before you make your decision to leave the house!

Swinging through the trees at Go Ape

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It turned out to be a rather wet day that we had booked to do Go Ape at Woburn but that didn’t dampen our spirits!

Go Ape Tree Top Challenge is a high ropes course set 8m up in the trees. We’ve done several other high ropes courses before, but being set in a forest made Go Ape feel different.  The course is setup across 6 different sections, 800m in total, each ending in a zip wire and takes 2-3 hours to complete.  It’s not a cheap activity, especially for a family of 5 (as we are), but it definitely felt like we got our monies-worth.

This is a self-belay course, which means you are responsible for attaching and unattaching your ropes to each obstacle, which might feels a little scary at first, but you get to try it all out on the ground first with instructor and the first two sections of the course ease you in gently with instructors nearby, before you are let off on your own to complete the rest of the course. Don’t worry though, the instructors are never far away and if you do get stuck you have whistle on your harness to call for help.

At the trickiest parts of the course there are alternative routes for those who may feel they have already pushed themselves to the limit and each obstacle is clearly signed to tell you what to do. One of the best parts (in my opinion) is the zip-wires at the end of each section. Launching yourself off the first time does take a bit of nerves, but once you are zipping through the air it’s thrilling - get ready for the landing though!  Will it be feet first or bottom first?  Seeing how often we could manage to land on our feet became our family challenge... the answer is not often!

There are Go Ape site across the country, but closest to us are Woburn (based in the Safari Park) and Wendover Woods.  We chose Woburn, I’ll be honest, because parking was free.  It turned out that being based in the Safari Park, Woburn also has the added bonus of getting to see a few of the animals on the drive through to the site! 

Children have to be aged at least 10 and you have to be over 140cm to take part, and one adult can only supervise a maximum of 2 children. For younger adventurers the site at Wendover Woods has a shorter Treetop Adventure course, which you just have to be taller than 1m to do.

We all thoroughly enjoyed our Go Ape experience and would definitely do it again another time.  Here’s a couple of tips if you are thinkingof giving it a go:

  • You will get dirty so wear old clothes.  It was wet when did it and landing the zip-wires into very fine, damp bark shavings, especially when we didn’t land on our feet, got us very mucky indeed. Even on a dry day I would expect you would get quite dusty. Fortunately we took old towels to sit on in the car on the way home - I’d recommend that! 
  • We also took a change of footwear too.  One thing we didn’t take was spare socks and ours were wet through and filthy by the end.
  • Wear gloves, or at least have a pair in your pocket.  Nothing too bulky, just ordinary woollen gloves, or sports gloves if you have them, as you need to be able to manage the clips, but gloves will stop your hands getting sore from gripping the ropes, particularly on a cold or wet day. 

If you're not good with heights this is probably not the activity for you, but if you think you fancy giving it a go you can find out more on the Go Ape website.


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