- Sector: Leisure
- Region: East of England
- Revenue: £10m to £20m
- Website: www.goape.co.uk
Back to nature
Thrill seekers, nature lovers and passionate staff have helped make Go Ape the UK’s number one forest adventure company.
The company started life in 2002, using underused rope courses and bridges in tree canopies around the country that, until then, had been used only for occasional corporate team-building exercises and armed forces training.
“It was a great recession for us in that sense because we learnt a lot and transformed the business – every year since then has been our best ever”
Tristram Mayhew, Founder, Go Ape
It now operates in 29 locations around the UK, plus two in the US.
“Typically, you will arrive at a location and we’ll teach you how everything works, fit you into a harness and hoist you up to the tree canopy. Then you make your way from tree to tree using rope bridges, and then a zip wire, which flies through the forest to the ground where you embark on another section,” says Managing Director, Jerome Mayhew.
The company also has two huge indoor sites, which house giant trampoline courses allowing visitors to bounce around the entire building and “bounce off the walls.”
“It’s all about encouraging an adventurous attitude to life,” says Jerome. “It’s reflected most importantly in our staff, who love what they do and radiate passion and enthusiasm.”
When the recession hit the company in 2010, rather than focus on costs, it expanded.
“We decided to replace lost revenue in the recession by diversifying into new activities and new geography,” says Jerome.
1,300 – The number of staff Go Ape will employ by the end of 2016
“We started Treetop Junior, which expanded our age range, and also started our Forest Segway business, which takes all-terrain versions of the Segway electric vehicles and allows people to explore the forests that way.”
“We have opened our first urban treetop adventure in London’s Battersea Park – we want to open more in other cities here and in the US.” Jerome plans to open five new courses a year and also expand the US operation.
“We had 900 staff in 2015 and we will rise to 1,300 this year, and more than double that figure in the next three years.”