An Active Day Out in Devon
“Always make sure you are clipped on”
I would say this was very wise advice, being 14 metres up in the canopy of trees at Haldon Forset near Exeter is not for the faint-hearted. Although I’d describe myself as pretty adventurous and up for a challenge, there is a certain element of self preservation that makes it pretty unnatural to step off a little platform onto a wobbly ladder.
Fun at Go Ape at Haldon Hill
Go Ape is a series of bridges, rope swings and zip wires high up in the pine trees of Haldon Forest.
The adventure starts off with (not surprisingly) signing a disclaimer. Then the first half an hour is the very important instruction on how to manage the slightly bewildering array of carabiner clips and zip wire attachments on your harness that you practice with at ground level.
At this point there is still time to change your mind – but don’t, it’s great fun and you’ll love it.
Harnesses and Clips
Once on the course you are on your own in your group. The lower age limit on the high ropes is 10 years and children need supervising at a ratio of 1 to 2.
At all times you have two clips, one on a wire around the tree when you are not on an obstacle.
Once you are up in the canopy you can take your time and enjoy the views.
We didn’t feel at all rushed so even if you felt a bit unsure you could take your time.
Look straight ahead was the advice, not down!
Extreme or Difficult?
In a couple of places you can choose between two routes, one more extreme than the other.
By this stage we all had total faith in our equipment so went for the harder option. You’ll see on the video the girls became quite confident!
Zip Wire Fun
The course is in five sections and you head back to the ground each time on a zip wire – we loved the zip wires.
The longest was 230 metres – and yes I ended up with “wood chip pants” – that’s code for a less than perfect landing.
Watch Our Video
Tree Top Junior
Does it all sound a bit too much for you ? Fear not! There is a now a Junior Course. You or younger children can enjoy this lower and less technical course if you are over 6 years old (and over 1 metre tall). Under 6’s need an adult with them on the course. There’s no clipping and un-clipping required so it’s much easier to manage.
This Go Ape is located in Haldon Forest which I am ashamed to admit I have not explored. As well as the high ropes courses you can enjoy the trails laid out by the Forestry Commission like the Gruffalo or Highway Rat, plus there’s a small play area.
There are also push bikes to hire with miles of marked and graded routes and a segway course. For the less able there is a mobility tamper to hire.
Summary – Great fun and Exhilarating
It took nearly 3 hours from the start time booked to completing the course, so although it’s not the cheapest thing to do it’s good value for the time it takes.
We really enjoyed the challenge and by the end were all ready for a drink and a well earned snack from the cafe at Haldon Hill.
So go – if you’ve not been before give it a go. If you have been to this site or any other what did you think of it?
Getting there – follow the signs for Haldon Forest Park off the A38 – there are no actual Go Ape signs until you reach the main Haldon Forest car park.
Take car park money: I struggled with the credit card option. Peak times charges are up to 2 hours £4, 2-4 hours £5, All Day £7. You can buy a ticket from the Rangers Office if you have no change.
Use the facilities: the Go Ape site is set away from the main car park, cafe and toilets – make sure you use them first! More details on the facilities on the Forestry Commission website here
For more information about Go Ape and the different locations take a look here.
DISCLAIMER: Flip flops or Wellies was gifted a group ticket for the Go Ape High Ropes for the purpose of this review. All photos, video and opinions are my own honest view.