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Our founders wishes

Before transferring the large majority of their shares into an Employee Ownership Trust (EOT) in October 2021 for the benefit of all current and future employees, Go Ape’s founders Tristram and Rebecca Mayhew wrote down a statement of ambition for the company going forward. This statement is recorded as ‘The Founders’ Wishes’. It is based upon the core values that shaped the direction and decision making of Go Ape’s first 20 years. 

On 28th March 2002, our first ever Go Ape site opened at High Lodge, Thetford Forest, Norfolk. Tris and Becs wanted to build a company everyone could be proud of, with a clear vision, mission and values. They wrote these down in the first season, and they became Go Ape’s compass, guiding all decisions. If a course of action didn’t pass the vision, mission and values test – they didn’t do it. 

The Founders’ wishes are that Go Ape continues to follow the mission, vision, values and ethos as laid out below: 

Go Ape’s Mission

Creating adventures and encouraging everyone to live life more adventurously. 



Go Ape's vision

To be the best adventure company on the planet (where you can be home in time for tea).  

Our Core Values

We believe in keeping the ‘adventure’ in adventure

We believe zero risk equals zero development. Without an element of developmental risk, it isn’t an adventure; it’s a ride. We boost confidence and risk management skills and get a buzz turning ‘I can’t’ into ‘I can’. We aim to challenge, surprise and excite, designing in customer wow and delight. 

We are inspired by and share the ethos of the Campaign for Adventure

The campaign seeks:

  • To show that life is best approached in a spirit of exploration, adventure and enterprise
  • To influence and better inform attitudes towards risk
  • To build wider recognition that chance, unforeseen circumstances and uncertainty are inescapable features of life and that absolute safety is unachievable
  • To demonstrate that sensible education and preparation enable an appropriate balance to be achieved between risk & safety and achievement & opportunity 

We are socially and environmentally responsible but not preachy

Go Ape is for purpose as much as for profit. We are about ‘Creating adventures and encouraging everyone to live life more adventurously’ because we believe life is so much more rewarding when lived boldly stepping out of your comfort zone. 

We share success and create worthwhile, rewarding jobs and careers. We will be fair and reasonable in all that we do, and a bit more so. Strong trust and respect-based relationships forge strong business. We aim to treat customers, colleagues, suppliers, partners and the environment how we would like to be treated ourselves. We seek to be two steps better in everything we do, with an increasing focus on environmental responsibility. 

do the right thing

Doing the right thing is the right thing to do. Ultimately, before finally green-lighting any decision, we must ask, ‘is this the right thing to do?’ It will always involve balanced judgement, but if we reflect that any of our core values would be compromised we should not proceed, even if it would have generated more profit. Doing the right thing builds greater brand value over the long term, as well as being the right thing to do.

Go Ape's DNA


This is the central core around which everything else is built. Real adventure, not just a ride. We want our customers to discover the natural high which comes from living life more adventurously. We are about keeping the ‘adventure in adventure’. If we had to sum up Go Ape in just one word, ‘adventurous’ would be it. We should ‘walk the talk’ and invest time and resources in adventure training for our tribe and celebrate bold adventures and adventurers, inside and outside the Go Ape family.


An adventure isn’t the same when you have no one to share it with. The sense of ‘tribe’ is central to the Go Ape experience. We want to be a diverse and inclusive organisation at all levels and cherish our working culture, where everyone is respected, welcomed and valued.


Go Ape is about wonder, the natural, peaceful environment, the trees, the distinctive woodland smell. It’s about the wonder and anticipation of what will happen next – new challenges and adventures at every turn. It’s also about reconnecting with fond childhood memories or exploration and discovery. It should all add up to wonder-full. 


A deep feeling of elation, freedom, achievement and wellbeing that’s unique to Go Ape – not just because of where we are and what we do, but how we do it. We design in ‘Wow’ and customer delight because how can we be proud of average? We don’t mollycoddle participants because training them to take control of their own safety in potentially hazardous environments builds their confidence to live adventurous lives, safely. There’s no better, healthier, longer-lasting rush than that. 


The best brands are the ones that wow their customers and have a real sense of purpose above and beyond simply turning a profit. We’d like to build long term relationships with our customers to encourage them to lead more adventurous lives. We’re prepared to work hard to delight them, inspire them and go the extra mile to exceed their expectations. When things do go wrong, even if the causes were out of our control, anyone within Go Ape must have the confidence and sense of empowerment to take responsibility for making things better quickly. If there’s an apology to be made, make it straight away on behalf of Go Ape. Do what feels right, there and then, to turn the situation around. Great customer care and service is simply having the empathy and imagination to put yourself in the customer’s shoes, and then treating them how you would wish to be treated yourself if you were in their position. No customer is louder in their praise than those who expected the worst and received the very best.


We have an ownership mindset. This is our business and we are hugely proud of what we deliver and what we stand for. This mindset means we don’t rest on our laurels, we are always looking for opportunities to better what we do and wow our customers. We meet any challenges with a solution focused mindset, and we work collaboratively together to deliver on our vision, mission and values.

Evolution of the Founders’ Wishes over time 


We recognise that Go Ape will face challenges ahead. It may be necessary for the principles set down in the Founders’ Wishes to be amended. However, any such change would only be possible with the unanimous agreement of the Trustees of the Employee Ownership Trust Board as well as the Management Board, and the majority view of the members of the Employee Council.

To be clear, the founders’ wishes are that Go Ape’s Mission, Vision and Values continue to be its guiding lights and that the company retains its independence in perpetuity, i.e. for ever. For the avoidance of doubt, the founders chose not to sell Go Ape to outsider investors, in order to best protect the interests of current and equally importantly, all future employees. The founders strongly believe in Employee Ownership, where each employee has an equal share in Go Ape, and would feel bitterly disappointed and that their trust had been betrayed should employee ownership and independence ever be lost, surrendered or sold.

Go Ape Employee Ownership

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