I remember hearing about Go Ape when i first moved to Nottingham for university. I got really excited at the idea of zip lining and climbing trees but for some reason i never put any plans into action.
Nottingham’s Go Ape is based in Sherwood Forest, and i was really impressed by the forest itself. I knew it was big but i hadn’t quite envisioned how active it would be. I got there for 9.30 on a Saturday morning and people were already in the trees, going for runs through the forest and on the cycle routes. Now i’m back running i actually wish i lived closer so i could do some of the trails because they look awesome.
Anyway after having a quick wander around the forest, i went and got my safety briefing for my tree top adventure. As i’m sure you can imagine climbing trees and swinging from branches is quite a high risk activity. I was surprised then when i discovered you didn’t have an instructor at every tree checking you were harnessed properly and clipped to the wires correctly. Instead you get a thorough tutorial at the beginning and they leave you to your own destiny. I was suprised by this and a bit scared but actually it’s a very good idea as it makes you more alert and it speeds up the sessions. So yeah i guess the first thing you need to know about Go Ape is that you are responsible for your own safety – that’s something i’d want to know if i was looking into going. It is ok though, safety is easy to grasp and you get plenty of practise before going into the forest. There’s also guides on every tree reminding you how to stay safe as well so it’s cool.
Now in terms of the activity itself – this is one of the best things i’ve ever done. I’m not a person who likes spending time with nature and i certainly don’t like getting grubby. I do however like being active and things like rock climbing, zip-lining and hiking really appeal to me. I had never tried anything like this before but boy i bloody enjoyed it. There was 6 sections to the course and all had rope ladders to climb up into the trees, various bridges connecting the trees, tiger swings and zip lines. The bridges that connected the trees were probably my favourite. I liked having to crawl through the nets and leap onto swinging steps – it felt dangerous (even though it was completely secure) and i found that exhilarating.
I thought i might have a problem with the height of some of the trees or the zip lines but actually i was fine. It was stunning scenery and as long as you didn’t stare at the ground you didn’t really think about it. I loved the zip lining although you can easily get a sore bum if you don’t land properly. The zip lining was actually really cool and so much fun, this was my first time doing it so i was a bit nervous to take my feet off the first platform but when you sit back in the harness you realise just how secure you are. I’d heard about the tiger swings before coming and when someone said you have to swing into a lower net and try to grab it i was a bit wary – what if you missed? Of course however there is no way you can miss and if so you are securely attached to a rope anyway so there’s no danger involved. I was fine with this but i would say make sure you wear gloves because climbing on the nets can hurt your hands.
I can’t explain as well as i’d like how great the tree top adventure is. Pictures would probably help but i chose not to take any technology with me into the forest. I think you can get so caught up taking pictures at events or on trips that actually you don’t look up for long enough to enjoy the view itself. People spend so much time looking through a lens and it’s nice to just look through your eyes.
When i first booked my visit i was concerned about the group size. There was only 3 places left in my session when i booked and i did think oh great it’s going to take ages to get around. I was surprised then by how little of a wait i actually had when going around the forest – there’s often two paths that meet in the middle of a site so that really helps move things along. Also people wait around for their friends so if you’re on your own or in a small group you can often over take. My group started as a 12 but you break off from your session and go at your own pace. When i booked it said the adventure normally takes around 3 hours, i think it took me 2 hours 15 mins or there about to get from start to finish which was pretty good.
In terms of price i’d say it’s reasonably priced. It’s quite an active few hours and it’s such a great experience. It costs £33 for over 16’s so great value.
There is height and weight restrictions for something like this but i think the weight limit was 20.5 stone so it’s fine for most people.
So yeah i’ll leave this post here. I wasn’t going to do a write up of this but it’s handy to read reviews of places and experiences, especially if you’re unsure whether you’ll enjoy it or not. I’d certainly recommend it. If you’re scared of heights i guess it’s a difficult decision. I’m not really scared of heights but i know a couple of girls on my trip got stage fright and had to get down off a couple of obstacles. It was quite difficult for them as well because once you’re in the middle of a site you either have to go forward or backwards, there’s not a quick exit if you get scared – you kind of have to keep going until the site is finished (the ending of most sites is a zip line) or go back to the beginning of that site to get down the ladder. If you’re worried about safety however there really is no need because as long as you follow the instructions it is very secure.
So yeah, i spent my Saturday climbing trees – standard right?!