In the heart of Thetford Forest lies GO APE, a tree top adventure providing fun for all the family, one of 30 such locations throughout the country. Offering tree top obstacle courses for adults and children, Segway adventures, and zip wire fun, Go Ape has something for everyone, no matter what age or level of fitness.
On a warm day in May, I spent a morning at Thetford’s tree top adventure and found it was a very enjoyable way to spend a few hours. Beginning with a safety talk and practice session I embarked on an adventure, accompanied by a small group of fellow trekkers. Taking time out to enjoy the views, we climbed ladders, negotiated swinging rope bridges and balanced along seemingly impassable routes.
Throughout the whole experience, participants are securely attached to the high level course by a safety harness which they are responsible for unhooking and reattaching for each obstacle. This becomes second nature after the first couple of obstacles. Once you learn to trust the harness and realise that – as your legs shoot off in opposite directions – you are not going to land in a crumpled heap on the floor, it is easier to relax and enjoy the experience.
At Thetford, there are five separate courses to complete, each ending with a thrilling zip wire ride to the ground… usually resulting in a dusty bottom! Each course incorporates a different set of challenges to overcome, such as jumping from a high platform into a net, hanging from the safety harness, balancing along wobbling platforms. For the more daring there are ‘extreme’ routes, whereas the more nervous or less able can take a more ‘moderate’ route to the same end point. The level of difficulty can also be varied by where participants can choose to hold on to the support wire — or not!
The course is definitely challenging and participants will find it easier if they are fairly fit with reasonable core stability. However, it is more than achievable for people of all fitness levels, as there are no time pressures. You can take as much time as you need to complete each of the stages. The course also creates a great feeling of camaraderie with other participants, no matter what their levels of ability, as I found everyone supporting and encouraging each other all the way round.
Staff are very professional, taking the safety aspect seriously whilst focussing on the fun to be had. Personal belongings can be stowed safely away while you complete the course. As long as they are securely attached to your person, cameras and mobile phones are allowed, so you can take photos to record your adventure.
The surrounding park land and woods also makes for a picturesque environment to enjoy before or after your Go Ape adventure. With bike hire and cafe available, a great day out can be had by all the family.