Where are we going? What are we doing? It’s hard to explain what we were off to do on that particular Saturday morning, so I simply said we were going to visit some trampolines in the trees.
This was met with side glances and a look of “she’s gone mad”. Luckily for me, as we drove through the entrance, that’s exactly what we were greeted with. 2,000 square metres of giant trampolines, slides, walkways and tunnels all made from netting 12m off the ground in mature native woodland.
Looking up at the nets on arrival it was hard to believe that visitors do not need special training or safety equipment. That’s because, unlike traditional high ropes courses, Treetops is completely surrounded by 4m high walls of netting, so everyone is free to explore the course without a harness.
Upon arrival we get a warm welcome from the friendly staff. High fives are given to my 8 and 4-year-old boys while I sign paperwork for our 2 hours of fun. We were advised to arrive 15 minutes prior to our booked time slot so the staff could talk us through everything before we got started. Safety is key so anything that can catch on the netting has to be removed. No rings, earrings, hair accessories, loose jewellery, etc. It’s also advised that longer hair should be tied back.
Everyone starts with a safety briefing, whether participating or supervising from the ground. We are taken outside to a seating area next to the course and given a relaxed and informal talk on what you can and cannot do on the ropes. Unlike other safety talks that can sometimes cast doubts in your mind as to why you decided to do this in the first place, this briefing actually increased the excitement and we were literally itching to get onto the course once it was over.
One area is dedicated to smaller children under 7, it is advisable to start off in this area but once confidence is gained (which, for my children took around 0.6 seconds) younger visitors can explore the rest of the course with supervision.
Staff were always on hand to assist – giving me a humorous “he’s over there” when I’d lost my children for the umpteenth time on the nets. It became clear that children can master the art of the bouncy walk along the nets long before the adults, so they instantly leave you for dust. In the middle of the nets is a tree house where you can see the whole course. At least one member of staff is based here to monitor the nets.
The very highest point is the crow’s nest. It really is extremely high and although still very safe it was the one place I felt a little anxious at the height. All these fears were quickly dashed when I made it to the top and took in the great surrounding views. A popular part of the course is the ball area – think large exercise type balls being used as footballs. This seems to be the place adults soon become children and my husband and I went from telling our kids to be careful to diving into each other during a very competitive game of dodge ball.
For those who don’t fancy going on the nets or indeed for those who have overdone it and need a break, there are benches surrounding the nets where you can relax. Alternatively, the cosy café is the perfect place to enjoy a hot drink and chocolate muffin to recharge your batteries.
As our session was drawing to a close a group of 10-year-olds arrived for a birthday party. What a great idea and a sure-fire way to earn some cool mum points. I enquired about a party in mid-summer. Surely that will give me enough time to perfect my dodge ball skills!
Treetop Nets is open throughout the week from 10am and they recommend that you allow 2 hours. Ticket prices are Adults & Children (5+) £20.00 and Supervisors & Under 5s £13.00. For more information check out their website: https://www.treetoptrek.co.uk/ripon