Review: Go Ape, Tilgate Park

Go Ape at Tilgate is a hugely popular attraction in Sussex. It's one of 31 Go Ape Adventures in the UK and this August Bank Holiday, Mark Dunford and his family joined many others in living life more adventurously and swung through the trees. Here is what he thought of the experience.

Being Tarzan must have been very hard work.

That was the conclusion I came to after an hour and half at Go Ape in Tilgate Park, Crawley.

My wife Amanda and eight-year-old son Noah gave the Tree Top Junior a go, while I took on the Tree Top Adventure (I was a Gorilla, not a Baboon apparently).

The Junior adventure was great fun and Noah loved the zip wire at the end (see video), but he also enjoyed walking across the rope bridges and wooden walkways.

I have got to admit, I found the bigger course tough, but great fun. I was joined by father and daughter pairing of Jason and Sophie, who was 11.

Climbing across one of the challenges

After our instructor Jess literally showed us the ropes, she tested us on the zip wire. She showed us how to land 'gracefully', now bearing in mind the last time I did anything 'gracefully' was a lofted off drive against Preston Nomads 2nd XI in 2006, this was quite daunting. On the little test run I did well, landing on my feet.

What was to follow was not so graceful.

We then started the first of the five sets of challenges. Sophie led the way and I found climbing up the rope ladders to get the first challenges the hardest part!

You really have to let your fears go and the first time I had to do this was at the first Tarzan swing. You let yourself drop off a high platform and swing into a rope ladder. It doesn't seem that daunting, but when you are my weight (don't worry I am just the under the max limit for weight!) letting yourself drop from that height is relatively scary.

Here I am coming down a zip wire

Once you fly into rope ladder, you have to climb up to the next platform, again that was tough.

The challenges across the five sets all vary so you are not always doing the same thing. And at times you get a choice, moderate or extreme. The first time I encountered this I attempted the extreme and succeeded, but the next one I didn't. I had already lost a stone in sweat, so no need to lose anymore.

The most fun parts were the zip wires and and the Tarzan swings.

There is still time in the school holidays to give Go Ape a try. It's hard work, but incredibly good fun. At Go Ape there’s an adventure for everyone.

Adults and children aged 10 years and above (who are at least 1.4m tall) can swing through the trees like Tarzan on the Tree Top Adventure, fly through the sky on a zip wire or glide through the forest on a Segway.
Children who are at least 1m tall can monkey around on Tree Top Junior – scrambling around a series of suspended tunnels, clambering across walkways, negotiating tricky obstacles, leaping into thin air and zooming down zip wires.

Go Ape sites are built in woodlands, forests or parks – the perfect setting for a family adventure. So, after proudly completing the course, your tribe can enjoy a picnic, build a den, hunt for bugs in ancient trees or explore the rest of the forest by bike or on foot. It’s a great time to get outside in the fresh air, stir up the nostalgia and revisit your own childhood memories of playing in the woods.

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