Somerset Family Adventures


Go Ape, Forest of Dean

REVIEW: Go Ape, Forest of Dean

Go Ape is an activity my children have wanted to try for a long time, so they were really excited to receive vouchers for Christmas towards a Go Ape experience. Our nearest Go Ape is the Forest of Dean which is just across the Severn Bridge, an easy drive from Somerset.

The Forest of Dean and the Wye Valley is an ancient forest and an area of unspoiled wilderness and beauty. It’s paradise for outdoorsy people of all ages and an area we love to explore as a family. There are plenty of outdoor activities here, including cycle trails, miles of footpaths for walkers, watersports on the river Wye and Go Ape high ropes treetop adventures in the forest.

What is Go Ape?

Go Ape is an outdoor adventure company with sites all over the UK. They run high rope courses called Tree Top Challenge and Tree Top Adventure, designed for both adults and kids. Go Ape is essentially an obstacle course through the canopy where you explore the trees from a new perspective, cross wobbly walkways, tackle dangling obstacles, and fly around on multiple ziplines from exciting heights.

Go Ape, Forest of Dean

Go Ape, Forest of Dean

There are two Go Ape sites in the Forest of Dean: Mallards Pike and Beechenhurst – which are about 10 minutes apart. Each site has different activities, so make sure you turn up at the correct location.

Beechenhurst is home to Go Ape Tree Top Adventure and Adventure Plus.

Mallards Pike is home to Go Ape Tree Top Challenge and the segways.

Go Ape Review

We booked (online) for the Tree Top Adventure Plus and the girls were really excited to take on the challenge. They’re both adventure seekers and not afraid of heights. On this occasion, I opted to stay on the ground and take photos.

On arrival, we headed to the reception – a wooden cabin next to the car park. Booking-in took a matter of minutes and after putting on a coloured wristband, the girls headed round to get their harnesses on, with the help from a member of staff.

Go Ape

They were given a safety briefing, shown what to do, and answered any questions.

Go Ape safety briefing

Here, there is a training area where you can practice moving your harness, which they make sure you are able to do before starting the course. We found the staff friendly, professional, and welcoming. They were extremely knowledgeable, answered all our questions and safety was clearly of upmost importance (which is so reassuring).

After the safety briefing, the girls were clipped in and they headed up the steps to start the course. It looked so high up when standing underneath but they weren’t fazed and were eager to get going.

There are staff dotted around the course to assist you if needed, which is reassuring.

The girls started of by walking over fixed wooden planks which had rope hand rails, then progressed to wobbly walkways hanging by ropes, stepping stones and a button bridge. I could hear them laughing and squealing, clearly enjoying themselves as they whizzed around the course.

Go Ape

They finished the course by flying down a zip line which was definitely their highlight. The double zipwire meant they could both whizz down it together.

They completed the course three times for the Tree Top Adventure. Each route became slightly more challenging.

They immediately continued on the Adventure Plus course (which is an add on), and slightly more challenging. You need to be over 1.2 m tall for this one.

You complete the Adventure Plus course once but it is slightly higher, more exposed and more wobbly; and to finish off the 120m zip wire is longer, faster and ultimately more fun.

The girls loved their Go Ape experience and wanted to do it all over again!

Go Ape, Forest of Dean

Go Ape – Final thoughts

Go Ape is perfect for adventurers both young and old, and families who enjoy being outdoors. We found Go Ape to be well organised, very safe, and super fun. Next time, I will definitely be joining the kids and have a go myself, and bring the rest of our family. It’s great to find an outdoor activity that caters to all ages and something all three of my kids (age 8, 11 and 13) and us adults can do together.

The girls loved this activity which was a fantastic entry level high ropes experience. Next, they want to try the Tree Top Challenge which is more advanced.

We recommend giving Go Ape gift vouchers as an alternative to birthday and Christmas presents.

READ MORE: The best gifts for outdoor kids

What are the different adventures at Go Ape, Forest of Dean?

Go Ape Tree Top Adventure

Location: Beechenhurst

What’s involved: Entry level course designed for mini explorers and families looking for high ropes adventure. Test your footing on three different loops of crossings before finding your wings for the ultimate flying experience as you dash through the clear forest air on a double zip wire finale.

Age: Suitable for age 4 and up

Height restriction: Participants must be at least 1.0 m tall

How long does it take? Allow 1.5 – 2 Hours

Difficulty: Easy/Moderate

Go Ape Tree Top Adventure Plus

Location: Beechenhurst

What’s involved: The Adventure Plus extension involves more independence, higher platforms, extra spicy crossings that wobble and weave and then an epic 120m zip wire ride back to the ground.

Age: Suitable for ages 6 and up

Height restriction: Participants must be at least 1.2 m tall

How long does it take? Allow 1.5 – 2 Hours

Difficulty: Easy/Moderate

Go Ape Tree Top Challenge

Location: Mallards Pike

What’s involved: An exhilarating high ropes course with epic zip lines. You have the option to adjust the difficulty of this high ropes course, you can crank it up each time you complete a lap of the Treetop Challenge. It’s higher up than the other high ropes course at Beechenhurst, this one is 15m off the ground! This course includes a number of new challenges including the Tank Trap and The Shuffle.

Age: Suitable for ages 10 and up

Height restriction: Participants must be at least 1.4m tall (4’7″)

How long does it take? Allow 2-3 Hours

Difficulty: Moderate

Go Ape Segways

Location: Mallards Pike

What’s involved: Hop on board an all-terrain Segway and discover some of the Forest’s amazing wildlife. The electric powered Segways enable you to get up close and personal with the wonders of the local nature. This course will put your Segway driving skills to the test with its windy trails and bumps.

Weight restriction: Kids will need to be over 7 stone

How long does it take? 1 Hour

Difficulty: Easy/Moderate

How much does Go Ape cost?

Go Ape Tree Top Adventure costs *£20/person (regardless of age)

Tree Top Adventure plus costs *£25/person

Tree Top Challenge costs *£35/person

Segway costs *£38/person

*These are the prices (at the time of writing) for the Go Ape Forest of Dean site. Other locations may vary in price. Please check their website for up to date prices for each location.

What else is there to do at Beechenhurst and Mallards Pike?

There is plenty of things to do at Beechenhurst and Mallards Pike for all the family.

There are lots of walking trails throughout the Forest of Dean and many directly from the Beechenhurst and Mallard’s Pike sites.

At Beechenhurst:

Walking Trails

  • the Forest of Dean Sculpture Trail (4.8 miles),
  • the Beechenhurst Trail (8 miles),
  • children will love the new Gruffalo Party Trail (1 mile).

Cycle Trail

  • The Colliers Trail Cycle Path (5 or 9 miles) suitable for families. Or for adventure seekers there is an extra challenge – look out for the moderately graded skill zone along the route.

There is also a lovely wooden play area, cafe, toilets, a climbing wall and picnic area.

Beechenhurst Lodge, Forest of Dean
Beechenhurst Lodge

At Mallards Pike:

Walking trails

  • Gruffalo Orienteering – a fun family map reading challenge
  • Mallards Pike Path (0.5 miles) accessible lake side path
  • Mallards to Wenchford Trail (1.8 miles)
  • Blaclpool Brook Trail (0.6 miles)
  • The Soudley Circles Walks (3 miles)

Cycle Trails

  • The Colliers Trail Cycle Path (5 or 9 miles) suitable for families. Or for adventure seekers there is an extra challenge – look out for the moderately graded skill zone along the route.
  • Verderers Trail (7 miles) rated moderate
  • Freeminers Trail (3.8 miles/7 miles/10.7 miles) rated difficult.


What to wear for Go Ape

Wear old clothes for Go Ape, something you don’t mind getting grubby. Dress for the weather so bring along a mac if the forecast is for rain. Suitable footwear is a must because this is an outdoor activity. You need shoes that are secure and won’t fall off. All footwear must be closed toe shoes – so no sandals, crocs or flip flops. Trainers are ideal for Go Ape. I advise you to tie long hair up so it doesn’t get caught in the harnesses, plus you’ll need to see where you’re going!

As you’ll be wearing a harness, your stomach area will need to be covered to prevent the harness rubbing.

Gloves are also a good idea, you can purchase some from the Go Ape reception (you can order them online when you book) or bring your own. Grippy gloves are probably best for Go Ape.

How long does Go Ape take?

Go Ape Tree Top Adventure and Adventure Plus takes between 1.5 – 2 hours. You’ll be on the course for about an hour but allow extra time for parking, checking in, getting kitted up and having the safety briefing.

Go Ape Tree Top Challenge takes 2-3 hours.

The segways take an hour.

What age is Go Ape suitable for?

There is a height restriction on all the Go Ape high ropes courses, so please check before booking.

Go Ape is suitable for ages 4+ for the Go Ape Tree Top Adventure. But children under age 6 will need to be accompanied by an adult. One adult can supervise up to two children under the age of six.

The Go Ape Tree Top Challenge is suitable for ages 10+.

There is a weight restriction on the segways, they are suitable for anyone over 7 stone.

How high is Go Ape?

The Go Ape Treetop Challenge is 15 m above the ground.

How much is parking at Beechenhurst?

Parking charges apply at both sites in the Forest of Dean.

Early bird – exit before 10.30am£2.00
Up to 2 hours£3.00
Up to 4 hours£5.00
All day£7.00

What is the address of Go Ape, Forest of Dean?

Beechenhurst Lodge, B4226, Coleford, Gloucestershire, GL16 7EJ

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Mallards Pike Lake, Parkend, Gloucestershire, Lydney GL15 4HD

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Can you do Go Ape if it's raining?

Go Ape remains open in all weathers, except thick ice, thunderstorms and gales. Rain makes the course muddier than usual – which can add to the fun, but you might want dry clothes to change into for the journey home.

Can you take mobile phones and a camera to Go Ape?

You can bring a camera and mobile phone to Go Ape in the Forest of Dean, but make sure it’s attached to you while you’re going round the course. You can buy a lanyard from the reception to put your phone in.

Can you buy food at Go Ape, Forest of Dean?

You can buy food and drink at Beechenhurst Cafe which is right next to Go Ape and the car park. The cafe is open daily from 8.30 am and serves breakfast and lunch, hot and cold drinks and ice creams. There is seating inside and out. Check out the menu.

There are also picnic benches dotted around the field where you can sit and enjoy your own picnic.

What else is there to see and do in the Forest of Dean?

  • Puzzlewood – An enchanting, ancient woodland, filled with fantastic tree and rock formations. A popular TV and film location.
  • Visit Tintern Abbey and walk along the River Wye
  • Discover Clearwell Caves – a natural cave system where you can explore nine large caverns and winding passageways with exciting displays throughout your journey. On the surface, visit the Lamp Room Cafe
  • Have fun on the Perrygrove Railway– hop onboard the steam train and stop off at various stations along the line
  • Visit Hopewell Colliery – Go on an underground tour of a mine
  • Spot Peregrine Falcons from Symonds Yat Rock and enjoy the spectacular views from the top

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