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Penelope Alice swings in the trees at Go Ape

Go Ape Trent Park

You know that feeling you sometimes get when you’re drifting off to sleep and you suddenly jerk awake because you think you’re falling? Science tells us that’s a left-over natural defence from the days when our ancestors slept in trees to stay safe from predators – it was designed to make us react if we really were falling out of trees. Well I had a chance to connect with my primal side last week when I joined the PA Life Club for a tree-top adventure at Go Ape Trent Park.

The site is one of Go Ape’s London locations, situated within a beautiful park just a stone’s throw from Cockfosters Tube station. I must admit that arriving and seeing a miniature version of what I was about to do put a bit of fear in my bones, but the lovely staff assured me that I was safe in their hands.

After taking a goofy picture where we all pretended to be monkeys, we headed into the woods for a practice course complete with a short zip wire. That helped build my confidence to conquer my fear of heights, so I entered the next zone, which proved a bit more challenging. Climbing up a tall rope ladder and crossing a rickety bridge was easy – it’s the Tarzan swing that caused me to pause. But with some gentle encouragement from my amazing fellow PAs, I took the literal leap and felt so much better for doing it.

There were a few points where I let my nerves get the better of me, but it was always worth pushing through for the thrill of riding down the zip wires at the end of each course, one of which allows you to ride a skateboard partway down. It’s so much fun! And hearing the cheers of support from the other PAs showed me that this is just the kind of thing I’d like to book for my own work team for our next activity day.

I had to admit defeat on the final course because… well, I’ll admit it – I’m incredibly out of shape. It broke my heart because the final zip wire is the definition of epic. But alas, I made my way back to the pavilion for a tasty barbeque cooked up by Go Ape’s preferred caterers and was rewarded with a certificate of completion for my efforts.

Looking for a challenging but rewarding activity for your next team-building day? Take my word for it that Go Ape – with its 29 locations around the country – is definitely that and so much more. Check it out at