Tag Archives: Autumn

Carry on…bonding!

Trees for Cities and Go Ape

Why is it that the Easter holidays and May Day Bank Holiday always seem to be over in a flash?

Well do not fear we have Spring Bank Holiday and the Summer Holidays just on the horizon ….

One day you’re all kicking back in the garden, enjoying a hot cross bun or two (or three); the next you’re sat at your desk, your kids are back at school, and you’re checking your calendar to count the weeks until the summer hols.

Easter and the early May Bank Holiday may be over, but the opportunity to bond with your family isn’t! Chances are, you all got up to some fun things during the break…well, there’s no reason why the fun should stop! In fact, having some fun activities in the pipeline will help to lessen the blow of being back in the office or the classroom.

Spring’s here and the evenings are getting lighter by the day so get out there and make the most of it!

Autumn Adventures at Go Ape

Maybe you weren’t able to hang out with your family that much this Easter. Well, even more reason to start planning some awesome adventures for you to bond over. With a little inspiration from the National Trust website, here are eight springtime family adventure ideas which do not need a holiday to take advantage of:

1. Take a trip to the forest, find the best climbing tree, and appreciate the view from way up high (just don’t forget to hold on tight).
2. Go for a stroll in the countryside, and see who can spot the most newborn baby lambs.
3. Be brave and take a dip in the sea hold hands and all run in together. The UK boasts some truly beautiful beaches; so after your swim, you can spend an afternoon building sandcastles and enjoying ice cream.
4. If it’s a windy day at the beach, bring a kite, and watch it dance and twirl in the breeze (before crash-landing into the sand).
5. Set off at dusk and spend an evening stargazing. Pick a spot with limited light pollution, and look out for shooting stars.
6. Gather together some paper and crayons and sketch some pictures of the springtime blooms. If you have flowers (like daffodils) growing in your garden, why not try pressing them into your artwork?
7. Ready, steady, slow! Ask a few snails if they wouldn’t mind taking part in a race. Placing a piece of lettuce at the finish line will encourage them to keep moving and in the right direction.
8. Unleash your inner Tarzans in the treetops at Go Ape! The ultimate in family bonding, a Tree Top Adventure will see you teaming up to tackle a whole host of sky-high obstacles. You’ll crawl through bridges, swing on stirrups, leap into nets and whizz through the air via zip wire!

With 31 locations across the UK, there’s bound to be a Go Ape near you. Book today, and give you and your family something to look forward to.

Can you achieve Hygge?

Love Trees

Hygge, we hear you ask, what is it and how do I get one?

Some words sound like what they are. Like ‘gargle’ for example, or ‘achoo!’, or maybe even ‘vroom’. ‘Roar’ and ‘hoot’ are also a little like that, now we think about it. ‘Ribbit’, too!

Anyway, where were we?

Ah yes. What does the word ‘hygge’ mean, do you reckon? It sounds kind of like one of those hugs where someone squeezes you so tight that they squish your organs a little bit, but you don’t mind because you know they’re totally just hugging you that way to show how much they care about you.

What the apeing heck is hygge?

Pronounced – say it with us now – ‘hoo-ga’, if we tried to explain what hygge is, we would say it’s a subtle blend of a state of being, mixed in with an activity. It’s derived from the Danish word for ‘cosiness’; a simple pleasure falling in-between the smell of chestnuts burning and the warmth from a burning fire.

Don’t you think it kind of sounds like what it is? That the letters curl around you like a blanket? Like a…dare I say it? A hug! [winks]

Comfort + warmth = hygge

Hygge is the comforting warmth of a cold winter night spent inside the house, it’s good wine and food mixed with even better friends and family, it’s passing stories and ideas between friends like they’re the office tin of chocolate biscuits. It’s the sound of laughter and fullness.

Although the word has been popularised from the Danish translation, it’s actually originally Norwegian – back in the day, it loosely translated as ‘well-being’ – so it slots in with our own ape-centric values about getting yourself into the woods and having adventures pretty darn well, don’t you think? It’s been around for a while, too – it first appeared long before the 18th century, and in the name of all things that are ape, that was bloomin’ yonks ago! It’s practically part of our heritage.

Like yoga but for your thoughts

Rather than all that spiritual lark, from what we can tell, hygge is more about living well. It’s about appreciating and taking the time to consider. A little like yoga, but for your thoughts. The kind of thought-yoga you do at Christmas when you’ve eaten a full roast and you’ve put a Christmas film on the telly and you take a deep breath of relief, completely content.

It’s somehow beyond definition, and yet, we’re betting you know exactly what we mean. You just can’t put your paw on the word for it.

This is autumn (sponsored by Go Ape)

So, what’s our recipe for hygge? Well, you know us, we would start the day with some monkeying around on a Go Ape Tree Top Adventure course (where else?!).

Autumn Adventures at Go Ape

The leaves right now are the full spectrum of colours, right through from brown to green (our favourite!), and it’s the PERFECT time to get outside and let your eyes feast on the glorious naturally occurring Pantone-like rainbow that is autumn. Take it in. Let your eyes guzzle down those colours like you’ve never seen anything so blooming beautiful in your whole life. If you didn’t know better, you’d think we’d sponsored autumn or something. We would if we could!

Embrace the hygge

When you get home from your autumn Go Ape adventure, take a deep breath [inhales]. Make yourself a hot chocolate (with some of those teenie tiny marshmallows on the top – go on, treat yourself!). If you have a fireplace, light a fire and watch the embers flicker. Read a book in the living room. Snuggle up after your adventure, confident that you’ve covered both the get-up-and-go part of your day as well as the sit-down-and-nap part [exhales]. Invite a friend round to share a coffee or glass of wine, and maybe your hopes and dreams, too.

Tree Top Adventure during Autumn

Phew… do you have a Cliff notes version?

So that was the long answer, but what’s the short one? How do you be/live/get/have/eat hygge?

Embrace adventure, take a deep breath and then curl up under the most comforting, convivial blanket you can get your paws on (can a blanket be convivial? We’re not entirely sure…).

What are you waiting for? Hygge up on the sofa. You have our permission. After all, it’s part of a long-standing tradition. It would be rude not to.

How and why do leaves change colour in the autumn?

Colour Me Happy

Our friends at Forestry Commission England carried out a survey on how we feel about autumn, and a staggering 96% of people said that beautiful autumn colours improve their mood.

These stunning colours draw in the eye and make us happy, but why do leaves change colour in the autumn? What science is going on behind the scenes?

To understand this, have a quick look at the phases which a tree goes through.

[Hint: you can follow these phases on this interactive map, which tracks the changing seasons]

 

Phase 1: The growing season begins…

Like any other living thing, trees need to take in energy. Unlike any other living thing, trees do this through solar power. Pretty impressive huh!

During spring and summer, the tree bursts into life and uses the sun’s rays to grow new shoots. Once the buds are set and the leaves are fully expanded, the tree fills its leaves with a green-coloured chemical called chlorophyll. This chemical is what allows trees to harness the sunshine and turn it into sugars (tree food). Yum!

The tree is constantly topping-up the chlorophyll during this growing phase, as the chemical is continually being broken down to produce food when it’s exposed to light.

Phase 2: Power down

When the days grow shorter, the light and heat levels drop, so the trees’ ‘solar panels’ power down. The tree creates a block between the branch and the leaf stem, depriving the leaves of nutrients and preventing chlorophyll from being topped-up.

Phase 3: Colour breakouts!

In autumn, the green chlorophyll begins to break down, uncovering other brightly coloured pigments hidden within the leaf.

On some trees you’ll see the rich oranges (carotenoids) or yellows begin to break through, (anthophylls). On others you’ll see a beautiful deep red or purple. These colours come from anthocyanins, which the trees make from the sugars trapped in the leaves.

Next time you look up at a golden autumn tree, you can smile knowing that a tree produces its colour as part of its annual growth cycle.

 Colour Me Happy

We’re in for a treat this autumn!

Luckily for us we’re in for a great season of colour this year, and here’s why…

Andrew Smith, the Forestry Commission’s director at Westonbirt explains that because of “the abundance of rain we experienced in spring, coupled with above average sunshine, has meant a great growing season for trees as it allows them to build up plenty of sugars in their leaves.”

Andrew goes on to explain that, thanks to a warm autumn (one of the hottest Septembers in over 100 years in fact), our forests will stay colourful for even longer this year!

 

All the more reason to head to one of the Forestry Commission’s top 10 autumn walks! They’ve hand picked the finest forest walks from around England for you to experience the stunning colours of autumn. It’s all part of their #ColourMeHappy campaign, which is encouraging people to get outdoors to make the most of this beautiful season.

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

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