Have you ever been to Go Ape? It's an adventure-activity chain where groups of children and adults alike can explore the forest canopy via a series of treetop rope courses.
We headed to Go Ape Sherwood Pines (Edwinstowe, Mansfield NG21 9JH), a short 20 miles rive for our house (parking is free).
I love to challenge myself physically (within reason!), Mark loves climbing with the kids but is too tall to fit in soft play (haha!), and JD (10) and Miss J (6) love nothing more than getting active outdoors, so this was the perfect activity for our whole family.
At each centre, there's one course for younger climbers (Tree Top Junior with a 1m height minimum) and an adult course (Tree Top Adventure for age 10 plus). We explored the junior course, which consisted of a beginner route with a hand rope all the way round, and a slightly more challenging route which is minus the hand rope.
When the kids first saw the route, there were a little uncertain, but after the lovely, friendly, supportive staff had taken us round the practice course (just a few feet off the ground), both were ready to give the first course a try.
One adult per child must stay with them on throughout the junior course, while the staff watch from the ground or man certain platforms around the route, so I stayed with JD and Mark stayed with J.
The junior courses are much more about balance than strength, so it's chiefly a case of stepping from rung to run without falling off! You can't actually fall off, of course, as you'll always be caught by the harnesses fixed around your hips and connected securely to the cable above your head. There's no need to handle the cable between platforms or junctions, either - you just slide the harness along with you as you go, all the way from the bottom of the steps at the beginning to the end.
Both routes converge on a final platform that is the jump off point for a zip wire that takes them through the trees to the ground at the far end of the course.
JD loved the zipwire so much he whizzed round the course time and time again, with the sole intention of getting to the ride the zip wire as many times as possible.
Meanwhile, daredevil J graduated to the tougher route with Mark, which was a relief to him as most adults will have to duck under the hand rail on the beginner course as they make their way round!
We all had a brilliant time and enjoyed every minute of it. It was lovely to experience the course as a family and share in the challenges, and when we'd finished we had the beautiful forest surroundings to explore. Perfect.
This is a review. Go Ape provided tickets in order for us to write about the experience.