Whilst my last adventure ended with an amazing feeling of serenity, this escapade left me feeling euphoric and confident – something that took me by surprise.
On a beautiful Sunday summers morning I headed out of the house far too early for my liking but it was a gorgeous day so I cannot really complain.
Before I go any further the decision to 'Go Ape' was my daughter's (you know; young, full of energy, no fear); I'm not good with heights having discovered this on the flying trapeze at circus school (I truly thought I'd be a natural!). It ended in tears and an intervention to get me down – it's a long and very painful story. I wasn't much cop at water skiing or even snow skiing either. So it was with a bit of trepidation I agreed to Go Ape ... will I ever learn?
Our booking was at 10.15am and Thetford Forest was already a hive of activity. We were greeted by a friendly gentleman who gave us the safety notice to read, he introduced us to our trainer and we started. The training was straightforward, "be clipped to the safety leads at ALL times". Anyone participating with children (10 yrs and over) has to agree to ensure responsibility for their safety at all times, if you cannot agree you may drop out at this point and get a refund – very fair.
Training included clipping and unclipping yourself to the safety leads plus a practise (low level) zip wire and Tarzan swing. I had a minor melt down on the zip wire, but after being thoroughly looked after by the trainer and talked through it, I threw caution to the wind and ziiiiiiiiiiiiped down – it was great!
And then we were off; climbing various rope ladders and obstacles very high in the trees. It was tranquil, green and beautiful with the sun peeking through the branches. The routes were varied and intriguing so there was no repetition, and all made you think "how best can I attempt this?" before you began to cross. Some had to be traversed by crawling, others by walking out onto swinging platforms and climbing ladders. But at the same time, whilst there were challenging elements, none were ridiculously difficult. In-between rope ladders and other ways to get from tree to tree there were long zip wires which were fantastically good fun and one Tarzan swing (a little harder, I admit).
In all, the entire route took us 3 hours to complete, I couldn't believe it, and finished with a final zip wire which incorporated starting your descent on a skate board! The end was exhilarating and when I removed my harness I had such a feeling of achievement. I had initially been slightly concerned about the height of the forest adventure but truly it was nothing to worry about and was a fabulous course to have completed. I was proud to show off my certificate – proof that I had done it!
This is a marvelous activity for all the family because you work together to get across the course. And for those who may feel slightly anxious, I say "if I can do it then anyone can". We saw lots of groups many with grand-parents in tow too. It's a perfect birthday present but also a great way of getting friends and family together to do something different. There was a fun and convivial atmosphere with groups helping each other out whether they knew each other or not!
Finish the day off with a picnic in the grounds or a bite to eat in the restaurant so you can chat about your accomplishment over a meal – you'll also be pretty hungry after all that adventure!
The details; 10-15 year olds must be supervised by a participating adult at a ratio of 1:2, 16-17 year olds can supervise themselves but cannot supervise others. Participation rules: Minimum age: 10 years, Minimum height: 1.4m, Maximum weight: 20.5 stone.
Tree Top Adventure: Gorillas (16 years plus) £33, Baboons (10-15 years) £25, Forest Segways: £35
Tree Top Junior: £18. Book here.
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