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The Story Of Go Ape

  • Sophie
  • 8th May 2015

There's something about the idea of swinging in trees that's hard to resist.

You've only got to consider Darwin's theory of evolution to see why we love spending time in the treetops; it's part of who we are and a lot of fun, too. Of course, evolution has meant that today's humans need a bit of help to swing through the trees and this is where Go Ape comes in. Here at Go Ape we want as many people as possible to unleash their inner ape. Our treetop courses have been operating since 2002 and in those 13 years we've come a long way.

The story starts back in 2001.


Go Ape's founders husband and wife team Rebecca and Tristram Mayhew (or Becs and Tris to you) were on holiday in France with their six-month old baby. One day walking in the Auvergne, they came across a French family swinging through the trees and it was clear that it wasn't just the children who were having the time of their lives.

Not ones to shy away from a challenge.

Tris and Becs wasted no time in getting the wheels in motion to set up a similar business in the UK. Quitting their London jobs they set about turning this idea into a reality, determined to encourage everyone to discover their inner monkey. And so it was that on 26 March 2002, Go Ape's very first treetop adventure opened to the public in Thetford Forest.

It didn't take long for word to spread.

Within the first year around 15,500 wannabe gorillas and baboons had swung into action and taken to the trees. Fast-forward another year and three more courses opened at Moors Valley, Grizedale and Sherwood. The sites were coming thick and fast, but that also meant that money was being spent thick and fast as well. Luckily, a small bank loan got the Mayhew's back on track and by 2008, they had a total of 17 Go Ape courses and a number of awards under their belts.

2008 was also a significant year in the Go Ape story.


In June of that year the company celebrated their one-millionth customer. This went hand-in-hand with more recognition, including chief gorilla (aka Tris) being named as a National Business Awards 'Entrepreneur of the Year' finalist. Added to that, Go Ape was also listed in the Sunday Times Fast Track 100 league table. Suffice to say, it was a busy year.

Since then, the Go Ape family tree has continued to grow and there are now a total of 28 sites in operation today. We also have 13 Tree Top Junior Adventure courses aimed at six to 12 year olds (or mini Tarzans as we like to call them); 10 Forest Segway Experiences; the very first Zip Trek Adventure; and the longest zip wire in the UK.

During this time we are proud to say we have stayed true to our roots and continue to motivate people to try something new and tackle everything in life with a 'can-do' attitude. With our 'live life more adventurously', motto we dream of having the whole world swinging through the trees, but failing that we'll continue on our quest to be the best adventure company out there.

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