Thursday 9 July 2020

Go Ape Treetop Challenge in a time of Social Distancing, Bedgebury, Kent

2 females on Go ape treetop challenge

It's my girls birthday next week and for quite some time they've been wanting to do the Go Ape Treetop Challenge. They've both completed the Treetop Adventure a few times and enjoyed it but as tall girls, they were ready for a new challenge. I have to admit, that I have never fancied going up into the treetops myself and had put off going as I assumed they needed an adult up there with them, what I now know is that if the child is under 13, they have to have an adult participating with them, but if they are 13 or over the adult can supervise from the ground. Perfect, I suspect we'll be going more often now I know that!

There used to be a minimum age for participation on the Treetop Challenge but now with new safety technology it is just a minimum height and any child can have a go (along with their supervising adult) as long as they are 1.4M (4FT 7”) or more.

The cost to do the Treetop Challenge is £25 for an under 18-year-old and £33 for 18 years plus. It's advised that the course will probably take around 2-3 hours. We arrived for a safety briefing at 9.45am, but it didn't start until closer to 10am by the time all participants had arrived and it probably went on until about 10.30am, because of the need to keep a distance from others.  We finished the course at 12.25pm, so that was just under two hours up in the air. It's great that there is no time limit and you can enjoy the course at a leisurely pace if you so wish.

3 females in the trees

Crossing a rope bridge

On the zip wire

On a cargo scramble net

Treetop challenge

Covid-19 Considerations

As soon as you arrive into the Go Ape area you are reminded by posters that there is a need to keep socially distanced from others. We were served from the hut and the spacing between us and the staff was adequate that no-one had to be wearing face coverings. The briefing is outside and there was enough space for us all to wait in our separate household groups.

The harnesses are then laid out by group and realistically they were not a great distance apart, but again as it is outdoors we felt OK with this. The instructor has a visor to wear and when they come close to you they tended to wear this.

Within each of the starting stations for climbing up onto the treetop courses there were hand washing stations with soap and paper towels, and hand sanitiser as well. I also saw the instructor walking around sanitising the keypads and high touch areas on the course entry points too.

Generally, we felt very safe and the only thing my friend Amalia commented on, was that she'd have liked to verbally hear the instructors remind people of the need to keep their distance from other household groups. There was a group of 3 teenage boys and they tended to get a bit close to us during parts of the safety briefing/ check. For this reason, we managed this ourselves and told them to go ahead of us, so we could take our time and keep a distance from them.

Go Ape Covid-19 response

Safety Considerations

The safety briefing at that start is very through, it is a mixture of the instructor talking and pre-recorded information. We were assigned Sian to be our instructor and she was then with us for the duration of the time our groups was on the course. There were 14 people briefed together and all went up into the course at the same time and then another group did not go for another hour.

I liked that there are practise areas to try out using the carabiner and the trolley system, as well as the more complex box system that is used for the Tarzan swing. Each household group took it in turns to try out the different safety features and there was help from two instructors to ensure things were being done in the right way and safely.

The harness fit is checked by an instructor and they are making sure things fit right, by asking members of the same group to help each other and therefore they don't have to touch you during this time. At points like this when they were close to us, they were wearing a visor.

Once Sian was happy we'd all had a go with the demo areas, she took everyone over to a very small demo course for some real-life practice with clipping and uncoupling the carabiner and moving the trolly system safely.

The safety aspect was really good and as a parent, I didn't worry about my children's safety at all. I had full confidence their harnesses would hold them tight if need be.

Go Ape Safety Briefing

So much Fun!

Everyone had a great time doing the Treetop Challenge and by the time they finished two out of three were tired and ready for a rest. It certainly seems to give your body a full workout, with arm muscles being especially tested on some of the crossings. Have a look at this video and you can see the kinds of challenges that are part of this course at Bedgebury.

One of my girls said she was scared of heights and wouldn't be able to do the course, as the highest point is 13 metres up, but actually, she turned out to be very brave and hardly batted an eyelid, except for the Tarzan swing, which we couldn't convince her to do. On that note, I need to commend the Go Ape instructor who was on the ground by that activity as she was amazing and patient, talking people through the safety aspects as the box connector is a little tricky, and also encouraging them to give it a go. It's great there is an easy by-pass route if it isn't for you though.

The longest zip wire is 170 metres long right at the and of the course and it's a great way to end.

Views from up in the trees -

Up in the trees Go Ape photos

Go Ape crawl barrel

Practical Information

Address: Go Ape Bedgebury, Bedgebury Road, Goudhurst, Cranbrook, Kent. TN17 2SJ

Car parking: You have to pay for this at Bedgebury, it is £10 for a car during weekdays and £13 for a car at weekends or in the school holidays. You can stay the whole day though and enjoy the massive forest with numerous trails for walking and cycling. There is also normally fabulous play equipment for the kids, but this is closed currently.

Go Ape website:
Go Ape FAQs:
Bedgebury Pinetum website:

There are toilets and a cafe with a takeaway service open at Bedgbury at the moment. Dogs are welcome at Bedgebury too.

Many thanks to Go Ape for hosting us, we all had a wonderful time. Even me, who was just following the trail from the ground and taking photos. It is amazing to watch your children having such fun and being brave.

Why not pin this post for later?

Go ape pin

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...