There’s no doubt about it my boys love a bit of adventure, and climbing. In fact my 10 year old even got told off at Cub Scouts for climbing a tree! And when he fell off a tree swing over the brook he just rubbed his back and got on with it too. So when an e-mail popped into my inbox asking if we wanted to experience the UK’s leading tree top adventure Go Ape there was no doubt that the answer would be a yes.
But then we hit our first stumbling block. Obviously the courses are designed for adventure and a bit of thrill seeking, so our youngest two children could not go on the higher course, which happens to be the one more local to us. You would have thought then that we would just pick our older children to go to the nearer one then, so we did. Luckily I am the kind of person who likes to seek clarity and that is when I discovered that they were not allowed on alone – eek! It is obvious really, as it is for health and safety. The bigger course involves you unclipping and reclipping yourself on and off the course, so it involves an adult being with you. Trouble is, me and my better half don’t like heights! I can just about manage things that take away my control (like Stealth), but this would involve me actually putting myself out there, and not something I’d be brave enough to do.
So instead we opted for a two hour drive to Moors Valley Country Park, which also meant that 3 of our children could experience the Tree Top junior course (about 5m high). I’d even checked in regards to my youngest having special needs, and told that this was not a problem. The junior course is for those over 6 years old or 1 m tall. What we didn’t realise is that if you were under 6 then again you would need an adult.
Luckily the course (being a junior one) wasn’t so high, and my better half
was volunteered to go up. He said that he didn’t feel so scared because of the safety harness.
The course was also shorter than the adult one and had been split into two, so that it was possible to get off without waiting until you got all the way to the end via the zipwire.
I was so proud watching them from all the ground. The 10 year old just flew around it, and is looking forward to going on the bigger course next year. Yes that is right, his brave dad is going to take him (and his big brother) on the Tree Top Adventure at our local one at The Forest of Dean - with the highest point being 15m.
The 6 year old only really stumbled on the tight rope. But even when both his feet slipped, and he was just dangling in the air, he did not cry or whimper. His dad came and helped pull him back up after he could not manage it himself.
As for my boy having special needs you just would not have guessed! He has always been a bit of a climber and was in his element! He too was a little frightened on the tight rope, and when the boards swung around his dad said was a bit difficult.
The staff were amazing, they were helpful, made sure the children knew all the safety rules, and answered all my questions without making me feel awkward (as well as sorting out a bit of a misunderstanding for me without question). I wish this course was a bit more local to me (our car broke down and it took over 5 hours to get back).
It is set in lovely grounds and we were very sad that we did not have time to do the Stick Man trail. You do pay for parking but the money goes to the forestry commission to help maintain the grounds.
This would make an excellent gift idea, especially for those aged 10 and up who can be hard to buy for.
Note to go on the bigger one my son needs to be over 1.40m as well as over 10 years old – mine was over this height on his 10th birthday.
We were gifted a free experience for my husband and 3 children in order to review it. All thoughts and opinions are my own.