Thursday 18 July 2019

Go Ape Matfen Review

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When an invite to try out Go Ape tree-top challenge landed in my inbox a few weeks ago my initial reaction was no-way am I trying that as I am terrified of heights. However, once I realised my teen was old enough to go around the course herself (16-17 years can tackle the course alone) then I signed her and her friend up straight away, as Go Ape sounded right up her street (she is a bit of an adrenaline junkie, unlike her mam).

Go Ape tree top challenge Northumberland, daughter climbing in trees

Go Ape is located in Matfen in the lovely Northumberland countryside, right near Matfen hall and golf course and it is only about a 20-minute drive from Newcastle. Luckily on the day we visited the sun was shining and it was a lovely day to be out in the countryside. Following the directions for the golf course, we soon arrived in the large free car park and instantly spotted the wooden Go Ape hut.

Go Ape Matfen entrance sign in the woods

On arrival names were checked off the list and as we had already signed the waiver form online before we visited so we were good to go. Go Ape run sessions throughout the day at 10am, 12pm or 2pm, we were booked onto the 12pm slot and there were only three other people booked onto our slot, we visited on a weekday before half-term. First up the participants had to get harnessed up off the staff and attend a safety briefing where they were showing how to attach yourself to the wires and stay safe in the trees!

Go Ape small starer high wire

You then head to the first section which didn't look too bad and I was even tempted to have a go myself, however, this was just a test section so the instructors can make sure you know what you're doing before letting you loose in the trees.

Go Ape cargo net in the trees

There were five different sections of the course and they get higher and harder as you progress through the course. You start every section by climbing up a ladders into the trees and then you have various obstacles to tackle to get from one tree to the next and make your way around the course, things like tightropes, tunnels to climb through, stepping planks, nets and even a skateboard are some of the challenges you will encounter up in the trees.

daughter on a wooden bridge between two trees up high at Go Ape

At the end of each section, you get to act like Tarzan to get back to the ground via zip wires which were my teens favourite part of the course as she loved zooming through the trees.

daughter on a zip wire between the trees at Go Ape Matfen Northumberland

You are left on your own to complete the course in your own time, but there are safety signs on all of the challenges to keep you safe. The staff are always around and checking you are ok but you never feel rushed or anything which was really good.

daughter on a high rope high in the tress at Go Ape

At a few different points around the course you are given the choice of trying a slightly easier route or a harder one, most of the time my teen went for the harder choice. She did regret that choice on one occasion though as you Tarzan swing from a high platform in the trees into a large suspended cargo net between two trees. There was a lot of screaming at this point as you have to hold on to the net tightly or you will swing back off it.

climbing a ladder up a tree to the high ropes go ape matfen

You also find our self having to climb ladders in trees to take you even higher in the forest. 

very high on a high rope at go ape matfen northumberland review

My teen and her friend really enjoyed taking part in the treetop challenge and she has already planned to revisit again, she enjoyed it that much. Her favourite parts where the ziplines and the skateboard as you skateboard through the trees straight into a zip wire drop - you have to see it to believe it.

zip wire inbetween the trees matfen northumberland

Once you complete the final zip line you find your self back at the start where the staff will help you out of your harnesses. The course took around two hours to complete but the rest of the people in our session took a while longer than us. I was a spectator and I was able to walk around and watch my teen taken part in the course, there were signposts in the forest area showing you where to go at all times and benches dotted around if you wanted a rest.

daughter on a zip line into a cargo net in the trees go ape matfen

It was a fun day out and if you have teens that I would 100% recommend a visit to the treetop challenge at Go Ape Matfen this summer. 

Need to know

  • There is plenty of free on-site parking at Go Ape
  • There are toilet facilities in the golf course on the other side of the car park
  • You can buy gloves priced at £3.50 a pair and I would recommend getting some as they made climbing the cargo nets easier. 
  • You can also buy hoodies, t-shirt etc at the hut, although I am not sure how much they were.
  • You need to be over 10 years old and 1.4 meters tall to take part in Go Ape at Matfen 
  • There are lots of local pubs to stop off for lunch nearby if you fancy making a day of it. 
  • 16-17-year-olds can complete the course on their own but not supervise younger participants
  • 10-15-year-olds need to be joined on the course by an adult

It costs £33 per person but you can get discounts when you book online in advance. 

To book and find out more visit 

Go Ape Matfen
Matfen Village
NE20 0RH



  1. What an adventurous place. My kids would love it!

    1. Some of them have courses suitable for younger children, I am sure they have on in the North west area x

  2. It doesn't look like my cup of tea either but I think my girls would love it. It sounds like your girl had a fab time! Good on her for trying the harder route. x

    1. I bet your girls would love it, kids have no fear do they x

  3. Go ape is just the best! I love the zip line at the end. The treetop challenge sounds like fun. We went for a team building event. It is a good place for many ages for sure.

  4. This looks like something my son would love although I would be a bit scared to be honest. Hadn't realised we had a local go ape

  5. Go Ape looks like so much fun and I have been meaning to take my boys for a while! The tip on the gloves is good - wouldn't of even thought of that

    Laura x


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