Monthly Archives: September 2016

Celebrate autumn at Go Ape!

Autumn Zip

Autumn has arrived and forests across the UK have started their spectacular transformation. The once-green canopy is turning into a rainbow of reds, golds, yellows and oranges… and the Go Ape tribe can’t get enough of it!

But, there’s more to an autumnal forest than crunchy orange leaves! We were recently reading the Forestry Commission website and found a list of wild things to look out for when you’re taking a stroll through the woodland this season…

DeerDeer

The Deer mating season starts at the end of September, with a peak in mid-October. Stags grow extremely impressive antlers to woo female Deer and fight off other males; and if you’re lucky, you’ll be able to hear their cries echo throughout the forest.

Birds

While some birds (Swallows, Cuckoos and Warblers) leave the UK during autumn in search of warmer climates (who can blame them?), some species arrive here, such as Swans, Ducks, Geese and Waders. Birds change their diet during the autumn months, swapping Caterpillars for small seeds, and their nests become easier to inspect thanks to the fallen leaves.

Seeds

Autumn is seed season! Now’s a great time to gather seeds from across the forest; find them in cones, fruits and berries. Did you know that trees have different methods of dispersing their seeds? For instance, some seeds are scattered by Squirrels, while others are spread by birds.

Red SquirrelRed Squirrel

Take a peek in the forks of tree trunks, and there’s a good chance you’ll come across a drey (a large nest) built by a Red Squirrel. They spend autumn gathering nuts and seeds and scattering them in hiding spots across the forest; their acute sense of smell and spatial memory means they’re able to find them months later!

 

Of course, many of the UK’s forests are also home to Go Ape! We have 30 locations across the UK, stretching from Crathes Castle in Aberdeenshire, all the way down to Haldon Forest near Exeter. So, you have no excuse not to unearth your knitwear and come and swing with us this autumn.

We strongly recommend booking a Tree Top Adventure, as you’ll be rewarded with awesome views of the colourful forest as you take on an array of obstacles. You’ll climb ropes, scramble across nets, crawl through tunnels, wobble across bridges and whizz down zip wires!

If heights aren’t really your thing, you could always cruise the forest floor aboard one of our all-terrain Segways. Feel and hear the autumn leaves crunch as you roll over them, weaving your way in and out of the trees.

So, what are you waiting for? Book your Go Ape adventure today!

 

Images copyright of Forestry Commission

Stag and hen dos at Go Ape

Stag and Hen Do

Has your best mate recently announced that they’re tying the knot, and you’ve been landed with the task of organising their stag or hen do?

 

No pressure or anything, but this will probably be your best bud’s last blowout before their big day. So naturally, you’ll want to please the bride- or groom-to-be by making it a trip to remember… for all the right reasons!

 

If you’re looking for a one-of-a-kind adventure, here’s an idea: round up your best (pri)mates and come swing through the trees at Go Ape!

 

If you’ve never unleashed your inner Tarzan on a Tree Top Adventure before, expect 2-3 hours of trailblazing and canopy exploring as you and your tribe take on a whole host of sky-high obstacles. We’ve got rope ladders, bridges, tunnels, stirrups, swings, nets, zip wires…we’ve got it all!

 

We guarantee that your adventure will be far more memorable than a trip into town in fancy dress! Oh, and on the subject of fancy dress, we strongly encourage stag and hen parties to arrive at the forest in costume – here are some ideas for themes:

 

Superheroes

Batman, Wolverine, Wonder Woman, Spider Man, Flash, Catwoman…there’s an (almost) endless list of superheroes you could dress as! And you’ll all look pretty fly when you leap off the Tarzan Swing with your capes flapping in the wind.

 

1970s Disco

Party in the tree tops donning disco gear; big ‘fros, big flares, leg warmers and bold, psychedelic prints! D-I-S-C-O!

 

Cartoon characters

Hen DoTransform into one of your favourite cartoon characters! Buzz Lightyear? Marge Simpson? Elmo?!

 

Harry Potter

Put a spell on the tree tops dressed head-to-toe in wizard clobber; robes, hats, wands, the lot! The bride- or groom-to-be gets to be Harry, just don’t forget the glasses.

 

Animals

Dress up as your favourite animal, whether that’s a cow, lion, monkey (the obvious choice!), parrot or panda! If one of your tribe takes too long to complete an obstacle, their forfeit is to make the noise of their chosen animal as loud as they can.

 

Charity shop

Everyone in your group has to buy the cheapest, yet smartest outfit they can from a local charity shop (accessories too). Make sure you all choose something ‘extra special’ for the bride- or groom-to-be.

 

When deciding on a theme, remember that you all need to be able to swing from tree to tree (which means dressing like Sponge Bob is a little impractical). You’ll obviously want to take a few snaps of your tribe too, and you can take a camera into the trees so long as it’s attached to you with a lanyard. One of the Go Ape tribe will be more than happy to take a group photo when you’ve all completed your adventure!

Autumn, we’re ready for you

Zip Line at Go Ape

Don’t get us wrong; we love the summer here at Go Ape. We love the long, hot days spent swinging from tree to tree, shaded by the canopy.

We love eating our lunch in the sunshine, and enjoying an ice-cream (or two) in the afternoons. But we’re also happy that summer is coming to an end. Why? Well, because that means autumn is on the horizon!

Forests are most beautiful during the autumn months. The once-green canopy is transformed into a rainbow of reds, oranges, golds and yellows. The leaves fall from the trees and cover the forest floor, crunching underfoot with every step.

You’d be crazy not to pay a visit to a local forest this autumn.

Enjoy a crisp stroll with your partner, tear-up some mountain bike trails with your buddies, or forage for materials and build a den with your little ones.

The nights may be drawing in, but there’s still plenty of sunlight in the evenings, so there’s no excuse not to head out into the great outdoors and embrace adventure. If you don’t make the most of it now, you’ll regret it later on.

The cooler autumn evenings are perfect for getting active outdoors – no more sweating under the scorching summer sun! So, if you’re visiting the forest, why not embark on a Tree Top Adventure with your tribe at Go Ape?

Our award-winning Tree Top Adventure courses boast an assortment of sky-high obstacles, from swinging stirrups to wobbly bridges and tricky tightropes. You’ll get to impress your tribe with your loudest holler as you leap off our infamous Tarzan swing, and you’ll all finish on an awesome high as you descend into a pile a woodchip via zip wire.

Go Ape Forest SegwaysIf you head up into the trees this autumn, you’ll be rewarded with awesome views of the orange-hued forest.

You can get snap-happy in the tree tops using a camera or your phone, so long as its attached to you at all times!

If you’re more a fan of down-to-earth adventures, you could roll over those crispy leaves on one of our all-terrain Segways. A Forest Segway Experience takes you deep into the forest for an hour of off-road exploring, weaving your way through the trees.

With 30 locations across the UK, you can guarantee to find a Go Ape near you. Book your forest-themed autumn adventure today to avoid disappointment.

See you in the trees very soon!

What to see in September

Love Trees

For many of our birds, September is all about getting together and eating well as they prepare for the coming winter months.

Large roving flocks of birds comprising several different kinds can be seen foraging in and moving through our treetops at this time of year. Amongst the Blue, Great and Long-tailed Tits, it is worth looking out for Britain’s smallest bird, the Goldcrest.

GoldcrestWeighing the same as a 10p piece and measuring 9cm from the tip of its beak to the end of its tail, the Goldcrest is tiny, about two-thirds the size of a Blue Tit. Overall, Goldcrests are a yellowish-green colour and sport a small white bar and black square on the wings, but the most striking feature are the feathers on the top of the head, wholly yellow in the female and mix of yellow and bright red in the male. One of the best ways of locating Goldcrests in a mixed flock is to listen out for the thin, high-pitched ‘tsee, tsee, tsee, tsee’ call.

A small woodpecker-like bird also joins these roving flocks and, with its unmistakable blue upper-parts, orangey-buff belly, chestnut and white spotted under-tail, black robber’s face mask and chisel-like beak, the Nuthatch, when seen well, is unmistakable. It is the only bird in Britain that can run down a tree trunk as well as up. At this time of the year Nuthatches are very busy birds and can be seen hammering seeds and nuts into crevices in the bark of trees, creating a stash for when times get tougher later in the year. They also utter a liquid, ‘quip, quip, quip’ call.

September is also the month when most of our summer visitors leave the UK to head to their wintering grounds in Africa.

Whilst adult Cuckoos began leaving in early June, the young they left behind in the nests of Dunnocks, Meadow Pipits, Reed Warblers and even occasionally Wrens, will only just be beginning their long flight south to the Congo Rain forest. Something they will do for the very first time. How do they know the way having never met their parents? Before they undertake this mammoth journey they will have to store fat around their bodies, and to do this they will eat as many caterpillars as they can find. Young Cuckoos are huge compared to the birds that reared them, about the size and shape of a Collared Dove, but with a lovely mix of chestnut, black and white barred upper-parts and tail, and a barred, black and white belly. All Cuckoos at this time of the year are silent, so the characteristic ‘Cuck-oo’ won’t be heard again until next spring, but it is worth keeping an eye out in the forest clearings for this enigmatic bird.

A British symbol of winter, the Robin.

RobinOne bird will be singing in the treetops though; the Robin. Most birds have given up singing by now as they have no need for it. Song is used to attract a mate and to define and hold on to a breeding territory and, as most of our birds have now finished breeding, the focus is on preparing for the winter, growing and replacing worn out feathers and putting on life saving fat. However, Robins do things slightly differently, maintaining a winter territory that may or may not have been part of the summer one. They do this to secure a decent living through the winter months, and advertise ownership by singing. Listen out for a thin, wispy almost mournful song, and be secure in the knowledge that it can only be a Robin.

Providing more of a challenge is the ‘ghost of the woods’, or Goshawk, as it is more commonly known. Although this larger cousin of the Sparrowhawk can reach the size of a Common Buzzard, it is much harder to see. Goshawks spend most of their time resting in trees on the woodland edge, and seem to prefer conifer plantations when available.

GoshawkLong hours of boredom are interspersed with moments full of action as this supreme bird of prey chases down its food; grey squirrels and crows are at the top of the menu. Look out for a Buzzard sized bird of prey with a long, barred tail, small hand (the fingered part of the wing) and broad bulging arm (the inner part of the wing), a gleaming white under-tail is also a good pointer. The BTO are currently tracking 5 Goshawks to learn more about these mysterious raptors.

So, hanging around in the treetops this month could provide some great wild bird encounters.

 

www.bto.org

Registerered Charity No. 216652 (England & Wales) SCO39193 (Scotland)

Patron HRH The Duke of Edinburgh KG KT

Images copyright of www.bto.org.

 

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