Adventures in England: Sherwood Forest

Gabe bday boy ropes course

We’ve started a bit of a family tradition for the kids’ birthdays this year where instead of a big gift, we give the birthday kid tickets to a family outing.  For Gabe’s birthday back in September, we got a family pass to an adventure ropes course called Go Ape, complete with swinging wooden bridges and zip lines. 

I don’t know many nine year old boys who would pass up a zip line.

G and O ropes course

But the best part?  It was located in Sherwood Forest.  As in, Robin Hood’s Sherwood Forest.

So. So. Cool.

The ropes course we signed up for was the Junior; the age requirement was 10 years old to do the adult course.  We assumed that the junior version would be fairly simple, pretty low to the ground, and that, since it was their first real ropes course, the kids would think it was amazing anyway.

We were right about the part where the kids thought it was amazing.  It was.  But it was NOT an easy-peasy little kids’ course.  It was HIGH (at least 20-25′ off the ground) and it was HARD (there were some bridges that even Matt and I had difficulty with)!  At one point, Quinn fell off the bridge we were crossing.  But since we were hooked in (to keep us from falling) and there were rules about how many adults could be on a bridge at once (to keep weight limits in check) neither Matt nor I could go across the bridge to get him.  So he dangled there, 20′ above the ground.  Bridget, fortunately, went quickly to his rescue and helped him back up without breaking any safety rules.  Quinn was completely unfazed. (My heart, however, was beating a mile a minute. Not so fast, however, that I was unable to get a picture of my five year old hanging mid-air.)

Quinn ropes course

We went through the course for an hour, and it was so fun.  I was really impressed with all my kids — they were completely daring, and even when they got nervous about the height or the wobbly bridges, they were brave and never gave up.  It was awesome.

Q concentration ropes course

B daring ropes course

O zip line ropes course

Once we were done with our climbing adventure, we set off to explore more of the forest.  It is Matt’s happy place, after all.  Surrounded by immense pines, we explored the woods, followed marked trails, and checked out “Robin Hood’s camp”. 

Sherwood Forest

We even found what looked like a WWI-style trench in the woods.  We couldn’t walk through the whole thing, but parts of it were accessible and you could check it out.

WWI Trench Sherwood

Then we came to what is possibly the coolest playground yet out of all the cool playgrounds we’ve visited in the UK.  And we’ve seen some good ones.

IMG_5596

Keeping with the Robin Hood theme, the entire playground was organically shaped and built from wood, rope, and chains, as though Robin and his merry men had built it themselves from things they’d found or made. 

Gabe_Sherwood

It was artistically sculpted, with hand holds carved from the trunks that made up the climbing structures.  It was a work of art, really.

Quinn Sherwood

Matt and I couldn’t resist either; we both climbed all over it.  I can’t pass up a good tree to climb.  (But since Matt had the camera, there are no pictures of him looking ridiculous playing on a playground.)

Mom and B Sherwood

Sherwood Forest was a huge success and we’d love to go back again in the summer — there were so many other things to see and do, we couldn’t cover it all in a day!

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