A part of Sherwood Forest in Nottinghamshire, Sherwood Pines is a country park that offers an exhaustive collection of activities to suit all budgets and ages. From bike rental/trails, segway rides, a cafe, to secret playgrounds and bush-craft experiences, there’s more than enough to keep the whole family occupied. One of its biggest draws is its Go Ape Tree Top Junior and high ropes courses, along with one of very few Go Ape Nets Kingdom parks. We decided to check them out during the school holidays.
Go Ape was a holiday treat as we don’t usually spend a great deal on our days out. Tickets are cheaper to book in advance online. We got £5 off entry to Nets Kingdom because we had done the Tree Top Junior course the same day. This was a special offer that for that week. We think it would be a fabulous idea if Go Ape offered the two experiences as a money saving combo ticket in the future.
By the way, if your budget is really low, £6 gets you all day car parking and then you can enjoy all the free activities Sherwood Pines has to offer like the playgrounds, picnic areas, walking trails, tree sculptures, woodland and biking trails.
TREE TOP JUNIOR
Getting ready for Noah’s tree top course was painless; just a few safety regulations to go over. His harness was fitted quickly by the friendly staff. He had a little practice on a short lower trail, then he was off.
I don’t think he had imagined how high up the tree top junior trail was. It was not long before he got cold feet. Noah often feels very sure of himself, charging around with a sense of bravado, so he’d told me very matter-of-fact that he didn’t want me to take part. When he froze on top of one of the platforms, I realised I’d totally underestimated his confidence. He managed to overcome the obstacle but at the next platform the tears came again. This time, one of Go Ape’s awesome staff members met him up on the platform, supporting him through the rest of the course. The staff member was incredibly patient, doing everything he could to build Noah’s confidence up to the point where he was tackling some obstacles on his own again.
The final obstacle of the Tree Top Junior course is a zip wire which Noah protested against, but with some more coaxing he was soon flying through the air. Noah agreed after that the zip wire really wasn’t that scary at all but he’d had enough of being a daredevil for the day. We will visit another time. Noah has decided that actually, he does want his mum to go round with him next time.
A quick meet with the Gruffalo, before we headed to Go Ape’s other attraction for kids, Nets Kingdom. It’s particularly well suited to younger visitors or those who don’t feel comfortable doing the tree top courses. The nets area is enclosed with plenty of large picnic tables scattered around, all have great views of the play area. Sessions are two hours long so it’s a good area to have a spot of lunch, You can bring your own or for just drinks/snacks there is a little kiosk within the Nets Kingdom.
Nets Kingdom is a large suspended netted play area, giving youngsters (and parents, if you like) the chance to play among the trees. It’s bouncy and pure fun, completed with net slides, tree houses and inflatable balls. I thought two hours seemed like a long session, but he wanted to stay longer.
Noah felt way more confident at this attraction than he did at the previous one. The staff were so engaging, putting vital safety information across in a way that a six year old could understand.
We recommend Tree Top Junior and Nets Kingdom, but if younger children want to take part in the former, then you may want to join them on the course.
Within a few minutes walk are the Forest Holidays Cabins which I can highly recommend for a short stay.
Noah’s words (on visiting Sherwood Pines and having a Go Ape adventure) :
“It’s awesome and cool!”
Visit the GoApe website for advance tickets to both Tree Top Junior and Nets Kingdom attractions. For other information about what’s on offer at Sherwood Pines, see the Forestry Commission website. Sherwood Pines is located at Edwinstowe, Mansfield NG21 9JL.
Making a weekend of it? Here’s a post about our visit to Creswell Crags, another fantastic child friendly day out in Nottinghamshire.