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Review: Swing through the trees at 'real life answer to Tarzan'

Published: 29 Aug 2014 15:300 comments

Reporter Rhodri Andrews visits the Go Ape adventure centre in Swinley Forest to see what it has to offer during the school summer holidays.

Our reporter Rhodri gave GoApe a go

SWINGING through trees and climbing in the tree tops takes many people in their mid 20s back to when they grew up watching Tarzan.

Go Ape, Swinley Forest’s treetop adventure course, is the real-life answer to Tarzan, although without the infamous yells and add some figure-hugging harnesses.

I went along on Sunday [10] for both of the activities the centre has to offer, and first up was the hour-long Forest Segway tour.

A segway, an electric two-wheeled self-balancing vehicle, looks hard to master but you are given expert tuition in a friendly manner straight from the off.

After the basics, you are able to find your feet (or your balance) on the machines round a training circuit.

An instructor-led tour of the whole forest follows on the 'safari route’ – although it must be noted, the narrower 'free ride’ route is normally used in drier weather.

After five or 10 minutes you feel at ease, able to take in the landscape around you without perilously looking at the ground wondering when you’re going to end up in the bushes.

I even had time to look smugly at some exhausted runners while breezing past them up a hill.

I’ve never felt 10 and a half miles per hour, the segway’s top speed, to be so fast. It’s exhilarating whizzing through the woodland – but you do feel every bump along the way!

After a quick toilet and coffee break, it was onto the Tree Top Adventure course – a high-wire course with several obstacles along way.

After another friendly and extensive safety talk and some training on a lower mini-course you are let loose yourselves on the activity.

The main part is split into four sections. You are guided from the ground along the first zone, but after that you’re on your own.

It has plenty of obstacles of varying difficulty to overcome – cargo nets, rickety bridges, tunnels and rope swings just to name a few.

Even the monotonous unclipping and clipping on of safety ropes seamlessly works its way into the fun experience.

The lack of instructor for the majority of the three-hour course is an added plus – it really feels like an adventure whether you’re with friends or family.

Of course, long-forgotten muscles are needed to overcome most of the obstacles – but the liberating zip-wire at the end of each section makes it all worth it.

Despite both activities not available for youngsters under 10 years old, it is hard to see past this as being an ideal family day out in Bracknell. Equally, it’s a great laugh for a group of friends too.

The Forest Segway tours are £35 per rider, while the Tree Top Adventure course starts at £24 per person. For more information visit www.goape.co.uk

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