Of the many Go Ape locations in the UK, we opted for glorious Delamere Forest – it meant we could combine our outdoor adventure with a cheeky shopping trip to nearby Cheshire Oaks.
As we were a little early, we headed for the delightful forest café with its indoor and outdoor seating, tasty treats and bike–hire station. There were lots of families milling around – some just starting their outdoor fun, and some looking as though they’d spent hours walking and cycling around this vast forest.
Go Ape! occupies an area of the forest close to the café, and all visitors can walk around and see the family activities on offer: the Tree Top Adventure, Tree Top Junior and the Forest Segway.
The Segways were quite daunting on first sight – two-wheeled machines with no brakes that we could make out. We had training in how to get on and off them, and were shown how to go forward and back and to turn corners – and most importantly, how to stop. As I practise yoga, I thought this would be easy, but though balance does play a part, it’s also about control and co-ordination. However, the instructors are great, and after a little test ride around the meeting area we were itching to get going.
The free-riding experience starts at a slow pace – ‘turtle mode’. After a couple of minutes the group is brought to a halt, and using a gadget you have on a lanyard, you press a button to remove the ‘turtle’. Then the real ‘wind in your hair’ experience starts, although the Segways are limited to 6.5mph so you never go too fast, and the instructor is always leading the group.
The session takes in some stunning forest scenery, going up and down hills and over some rough terrain. With the overnight rain we’d had, there were a few large puddles to negotiate too. You definitely grow with confidence throughout the hour and the temptation is always there to pick up speed and overtake, but we stuck to the strict health and safety rules.
Towards the end of the session, we stopped at a fantastic photo opportunity spot. It was at this point the instructor noticed I was still in turtle mode. No wonder I’d been finding it hard to keep up with the rest of the group! Hence, it was only for the last 10 minutes that I got a feel for the real speed. We’ll certainly try a Forest Segway Experience again – if only to spend more time free of the turtle…
Things you need to know about Forest Segways:
• Wear clothing you don’t mind getting dirty.
• Wear flat shoes – ideally trainers, wellies or walking boots.
• Users must be over 10 years of age and weigh more than 7 stone (45kg).
• Children under 16 must be supervised by an adult in their party.
• Listen to and follow all the instructions given to you on the day.
Find out more about Go Ape's Tree Top Adventures and Forest Segways plus latest offers.