Monthly Archives: January 2015

5 Of The Best UK Wintry Forests

Go Ape in the Winter

Winter: a time when people crank up their thermostats, load up their log baskets and stock-up on the de-icer. Nights are long, days are short, and summertime seems like a lifetime away. And when the weekend arrives, it’s all too tempting to spend our days indoors, sulking by an open fire and waiting for spring to arrive.

But, instead of wishing winter away, why not embrace it? Yes, it can be a pain having to spend ten minutes every morning scraping ice off your car, but there are plenty of good bits about winter, too. And to really make the most of it, you need to stop being such a wintertime hermit and get yourself outdoors.

When it comes to outdoor activities, how about a wintry forest walk? This season transforms our forests into beautiful winter wonderlands – think snow-capped trees, icy lakes and glistening forest floors. So, dig out your wellies, wrap up warm and pack your bags with a large flask of tea. It’s time to embrace winter.

Here are a few of our favourite wintertime forests:

Grizedale Forest, the Lake District

Set right in the heart of the magnificent Lake District, Grizedale Forest is the perfect spot for walkers, mountain bikers and adventurers (you can find one of our courses here). This forest gets our vote for its truly breath-taking views, with the lakes and mountains looking extra-spectacular in the wintertime.

The forest trails are suitable for all ages and abilities, whether you want to walk the ancient tracks or prefer the more modern pathways. The forest is also home to many different sculptures; some are in clear sight, while others are hidden behind the trees.

Haldon Forest Park, Devon

Haldon Forest Park boasts 3,500 acres of woodland and is just a stone’s throw from the historic town of Exeter. The area has cycle and walking trails for all abilities and on a clear and crisp winter’s day, you can see all the way to Dartmoor.

The Mamhead Sensory Trail is ideal for a wintertime walk with the kids. The trail is flat and well-surfaced, and has ‘sensory markers’ along the way to help walkers appreciate their beautiful surroundings. The route takes you through a beech-lined avenue, to a high viewpoint near the Obelisk where you can see all of Exeter. If you’ve still got energy left after your walk, how about rounding things off with an afternoon in the trees at Haldon’s Go Ape course?

Ashdown Forest, East Sussex

Ashdown Forest has gained status as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and is the inspiration behind the famous Winnie the Pooh books, making it the perfect place to take the kids. In fact, the forest has a few ‘Pooh’ trails, taking you to many of the famous scenes written about in the books.

Bedgebury National Pinetum and Forest, Kent

Bedgebury National Pinetum makes the perfect winter’s day out for several reasons. First, the National Pinetum is home to one of the world’s greatest collections of conifers, which look especially beautiful when covered in frost. Second, the infamous Gruffalo is hiding somewhere in Bedgebury, and up until February kids have the chance to try and find him on the Gruffalo’s Child Trail. And finally…well…Bedgebury is where you will find us!

Forest of Dean

Last but certainly not least, the Forest of Dean is one of our favourite locations for a spot of wintertime walking or cycling. We love it because there’s so much to explore and discover: from Iron Age forts to tranquil lakes and views over the River Wye, you name it; the Forest of Dean’s got it.

Where’s your favourite wintry spot? Share your photos with us using #LoveAdventure on Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus or Instagram.

Or if you like the idea of a luxurious break in a Forest Holidays cabin, come tell us why you love adventure and be in with a chance to win!

Bank Holidays Are Coming…

Bank-Holidays-Are-Coming-Go-Ape

Have you been suffering from the notorious January blues?

We know we have. Christmas (we promise we won’t mention the word again) is over, our pockets are nearly empty, and no one wants to do anything because they’re all too busy detoxing. Add that to short days, long nights and icy-cold temperatures. Yep, January can certainly drag.

But don’t worry folks; we’re already halfway through the month (hoorah!). And what better way to banish those blues than by planning some fun activities for the months ahead? The beginning of each year means that we have all those bank holidays to look forward to again. Here is a little list of when they are, and some suggestions for what you could do.

Good Friday & Easter Monday (Friday 3rd and Monday 6th of April)

First up are Good Friday and Easter Monday, which means that many of us will be blessed with a four-day weekend. Bliss. So, what to do? Well, given the fact that it’s Easter, how about getting in the spirit of things with some themed activities? If you’ve got little ones, they’ll love taking part in a giant Easter egg hunt. There are numerous hunts taking place across the country; wherever you go, you’re bound to have a cracking time (see what we did there?).

But, if you really want to take advantage of the long weekend, why not book yourself a small break? The UK is truly beautiful in the springtime – the trees are blossoming, flowers blooming and birds chirping – so how about a trip to the countryside? The UK’s forests also come alive in the springtime, and in many of them you’ll find one of our Go Ape courses.

Early May bank holiday (Monday, 4th of May)

The next bank holiday lands on Monday, 4th of May this year. There’s a good chance things will have (finally) started warming up, so now is a better time than ever to embrace the great outdoors. You could organise a group camping trip, or perhaps try something you’ve never tried before, whether that’s windsurfing, rock climbing or mountain biking. Or, perhaps you fancy scaling the forest floor on some Forest Segways at Go Ape?

Spring bank holiday (Monday, 25th of May)

Summer’s so close, we can almost feel it. And it’s around this time when UK festivals get fully underway, so why not take a look around and get yourself some tickets. Food, dance, art, music… you name it, there’ll be a festival for it.

Summer bank holiday (Monday, 31st August)

It’s time to wave an emotional farewell to the summer and the string of bank holidays (sob). If your previous bank holidays have involved plenty of fun-filled activities, then you may want to take this opportunity to simply put your feet up and rest. Although we can’t promise sunshine, a coastal break in the UK may be just what you need to round-off your summer.

With locations all over the UK, Go Ape makes the perfect bank holiday activity – so start planning your next adventure now! You’ll be tackling high ropes, Tarzan swings and zip wires as you make your way across our Tree Top Adventure courses. We’ve also got Tree Top Junior courses for the little ones and Segways for those who like to be a little closer to the ground. We recommend booking now to avoid disappointment; and so that you’ve got something to look forward to!

5 Little Ways To Kick Start Your Year

Adventure Bloggers - Love Adventure

New year, new me” is a phrase we all hear a lot in January, and is something we all quietly remind ourselves every time we feel the urge to buy that half-price box of Celebrations. Many of our resolutions will be centred on the idea of becoming healthier, whether we want to give up smoking, join a gym or eat better.

When it comes to sticking to your resolutions, it’s the little things that can make all the difference. So, if you’ve made 2015 the year to start looking after, and loving yourself, here are five little ways to kick start your year:

1. Clear out your cupboards

It can be difficult to eat a healthy diet when temptation lurks. Now’s the time to have a good clear out – banish the binge food and sugary snacks from your cupboards and fridge. And don’t forget that secret stash hidden under your bed, too.

Once you’ve cleared some room, you can stock-up on some healthy and nutritious foods. Fill up the fruit bowl and store some wholesome veg in your fridge drawers. You may even want to purchase some healthy recipe books for some cooking inspiration.

(PS: Don’t deprive yourself entirely of delicious goodies, we all deserve to treat ourselves every once in a while).

2. Drink up

No, we’re not talking about those half empty bottles of wine left over from the festive period. We’re talking about water. Despite being a colourless, flavourless fluid, water is jam-packed with health benefits. Water fuels our bodies and minds, nourishes our hair and skin, keeps our energy levels high and even helps us to concentrate. So, drink up!

3. Get your 8 hours

It’s time to ditch your nocturnal night time habits and get your head down. Many studies suggest that 8 is the magic number when it comes to sleep. Snoozing for this long will ensure that you wake up feeling refreshed and raring to go. And, getting plenty of sleep also has long term benefits; some reports, for instance, suggest that you’ll live longer!

4. Get a hobby

From taking up a new sport to learning a new language, the New Year is the perfect time to find yourself a new hobby. Perhaps you’ve always liked the idea of joining a yoga class, or you may have always wanted to try your hand at rock climbing. Having a hobby can be extremely fulfilling, not to mention you’ll make some new friends along the way.

5. Embrace the great outdoors

Many people will shiver at the thought of stepping foot outdoors in this weather. But, so long as you wrap up warm, you’ll find that the outdoors can be truly magical in the wintertime. Whether you choose to go for an early morning run or take a stroll through an icy forest, embracing the great outdoors in the perfect way to start any day.

As our Chief Gorilla says;

A New Year is a great opportunity to get a grip of your life and focus on living it more adventurously.

So why not ditch the junk food, dig out your old bike and start loving adventure. Who knows, your next adventure could win you a luxurious break with Forest Holidays! How? Find out here.

Forget Fad Diets. Get Fit the Forest Way!

Get Forest Fit With Go Ape

Attempted Atkins? Done Dukan? Or is the 5:2 diet your thing?

A New Year is often the fresh start many need to begin their journey to becoming healthier and happier, time and time again choosing the latest diet craze to shed the pounds. But foodies need not cut the carbs or survive on 500 calories a day, for those that love adventure there’s a much simpler way to get body confidence back…head to the forest!

Our friends at the Forestry Commission have the counted the Christmas calories and found the perfect way to burn off last years indulgences. Starting with:

Calorie burning walks

A candy cane = walk 1 mile

  • Suggested trail: Route to Health sculpture trail at Cannock Chase Forest, Staffordshire
  • Why? A perfect trail to help get you started. The trail offers a gentle walk complete with unique art pieces. The works of art are all themed around health issues and are designed to generate interest in exercise, relaxation, mental health and a healthy heart.

www.forestry.gov.uk/cannockforest

A prawn cocktail starter: walk 3 miles

  • Suggested trail: Bolderwood Radnor Trail in the New Forest, Hampshire
  • Why? A fantastic trail that explores both modern and ancient woodland. Follow the trail right to the end to reach a viewing platform where you can often see fallow deer.

www.forestry.gov.uk/newforest

A slice of Christmas ham served with roasted parsnips: walk 3.5 miles

  • Suggested trail: Seat How Trail at Whinlatter Forest, Cumbria
  • Why? As England’s only true mountain forest, Whinlatter takes calorie burning to a whole new level – with glorious views to reward you at the end of your walk. Seat How Trail takes you up to 500 metres above sea level with great views over the Lake District lakes and fells.

www.forestry.gov.uk/whinlatter

Invigorating runs or blood-pumping bike rides

A slice of Christmas cake: cycle 8 miles

Suggested trail: Green Cycle Route at Dalby Forestry, Yorkshire
Why? A lovely trail on the high plateau around Adderstone, with mixed terrain of forest roads, grass tracks, with a few short climbs and descents.

www.forestry.gov.uk/dalbyforest

Roast goose served with pigs in blankets, and Brussels sprouts covered in gravy, followed by a slice of Christmas cake and a spoonful of brandy butter: run 10.5 miles

Suggested trail: Hawkshead Moor Trail, Grizedale Forest, Cumbria
Why? Best for running or cycling – a great calorie burner with plenty of ups and downs to challenge you. In the heart of the Lake District, this waymarked trail on forest roads climbs up to give you fantastic views across to the Langdale Fells and Helvellyn.

www.forestry.gov.uk/grizedale

Cheese served with crackers and grapes: run 1 mile plus toning exercises

Suggested trail: Fitness Trail at Wendover Woods, Buckinghamshire
Why? This circular trail, set along unsurfaced/ cross country style route, contains 10 pieces of fitness equipment designed to improve all over body fitness. Each piece of equipment has guidelines on what to do and the number of repetitions required to achieve set goals.

www.forestry.gov.uk/wendoverwoods

Now there’s food for thought!

The foodie fun doesn’t have to stop just because it’s a new year, remember it’s all about everything in moderation.

Did you know there’s a Go Ape Adventure at each of the locations above?

In fact, there are 28 sites across the UK! On average, a visit to Go Ape burns between 510-660 calories! What’s more, the exhilarating Go Ape experience strengthens the following muscles:

  • Rhomboids, Lower Trapezius, Rectus Abdominis, Obliques, Erector Spinae, Latissimus, Dorsi Gluteals and Quadriceps.

It also stretches the following:

  • Upper Trapezius, Pectorals, Erector Spinae, Latissimus Dorsi, Hamstrings, Gastrocnemius and Soleus.

So, forget the fad diet and get fit the forest way. Love yourself, love adventure.

Our forest doors re-open on 14th February, get in early and book your next adventure online now.

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