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Days Out in Southampton

‘Get back to nature’ and ‘conveniently located near the M27’ are two statements that you wouldn’t think would go together. Yet, Go Ape Southampton at Itchen Valley Country Park brings together a truly wild experience located conveniently close to transport links. Nestled in the Hampshire countryside on the outskirts of Southampton and nearby to Portsmouth and Winchester, this hidden gem is set in a beautiful forest of towering conifers that create a mystical atmosphere for your summer day out. There’s something for all ages, but adults and older teens should look no further than our thrilling Treetop Challenge for the full 2-3 hour Go Ape experience. Set alongside nature reserves and with a café onsite, there’s a host of activities to make your visit to Go Ape Southampton a special trip.

Read on to find out more about a day out full of fun, adventure and fascination at Go Ape Southampton.

Man in a black hoodie on a Go Ape crossing

Go Ape Experiences

In the shade of the forest you’ll find our Treetop Challenge, suitable for those over 1.4 metres it’s one of the most thrilling experiences in the south of England. Not far from our location at Moors Valley Country Park, this course differs by turning up the challenge even further; more height, longer zip wires and an extra Tarzan Swing!

Having checked in at our cabin overlooking the open space of High Hill Field, you’ll be led into the forest by one of our friendly instructors to complete your training before you scale rope ladders into the forest canopy. Rising to 12 metres from the forest floor your journey through the treetops will put your new skills to the test as you negotiate crossings of varying difficulty on your adventure. Deep in the forest you’ll soar down huge zip wires up to 200 metres long between each of the course’s sites. Then comes the Tarzan Swing; perched on the edge of a platform high up in the trees, will you have the courage to glance down at the forest floor below before stepping into the thin air beneath and swinging into a cargo net? Finally, you’ll arrive at the edge of the woods for one final zip ride across the field and back to the cabin.

Children over 1 metre can also enjoy some time in the treetops on our Adventure course. Beginning with confidence building crossings on loop 1 that have nets and handrails to hold on to, young explorers can then challenge themselves on loop 2 which features wobbly bridges such as our jungle crossing. Each loop ends in a zip wire ride to bring them back to the ground with a huge smile on their face.

Discover Nature

Your day out to Itchen Valley Country Park wouldn’t be complete without taking some time to explore the diversity of natural habitats that can all be accessed by following the waymarked walking trails. Flooded in winter, the Water Meadows are an unmissable part of a summer day out to Itchen Valley for naturalists. An international site of special scientific interest the Water Meadows sit alongside the river Itchen and are home to both otters and voles. Over 100 species of bird have also been recorded including warblers and snipes that enjoy the wetland areas. Cuckooflower and marsh-marigolds can be found amongst the flora. Keep an eye out for the butterflies floating between them in the sun, as well as dragonflies such as the rare southern damselfly hovering over the ditches.

Extend your walk into the Woodland Nature Reserve to embrace a habitat of a different kind. Home to woodpeckers, roe deer and badgers, if you stop by in the late evening you may even hear the call of the resident tawny owls. With wildflower meadows to incorporate into your stroll and grazing livestock to enjoy as you wander, there is lots to soak up as you wander around this special landscape.

Re-fuel at the cafe

In the summer of 2020, the Woodland Café is open 11am-4pm with a takeaway service offering hot food, baguettes, wraps, drinks and ice creams. Whilst not able to sit inside, it's the perfect opportunity to find a quiet spot in the park to re-fuel as you continue to enjoy the natural setting around you.

Nearby to the café you'll also find the park toilets and a dog wash, ideally located for rinsing down you four-legged friend after a good play in the woods.

Great for Young Families

If play is the name of the game then there’s a lot for little ones at Itchen Valley. Near to the Woodland Café you’ll find a small play area for under 9s, and then on High Hill Field you’ll find a much larger adventure playground opposite the Go Ape cabin. Suitable for children up to 14 years and parents that just can’t help themselves, it’s sure to keep them entertained and tire them out before bedtime. With the open field space adjacent it’s a good idea to pack balls, kites and frisbees to make the most of the space.

To encourage children to enjoy the forest there’s a short play trail through the woodland with animal themed structures to climb on and slide down, perfect for infant age kiddos! Parents wishing to encourage smaller children to embrace nature should also check out the family activities in place around the park, designed to engage children physically and mentally as you journey around the forest.