Treetop Nets, Ripon – Review
By Matt Callard
Near the conclusion of HBO’s shatteringly brilliant series, The Leftovers, two of the main characters, in the midst of a crisis so labyrinthine and – literally – world ending, climb on to a trampoline. For a whole minute the camera lingers, sometimes in slow motion, as these two women joyfully bounce, metaphorically shaking off the shackles of a world gone bad.
This strange, incongruous scene is all the more powerful because in trampolining there are real world benefits for body and soul. Among the obvious health ones, endorphins – those built-in mood enhancers – are immediately released, stress evaporates, replaced by a general feeling of positivity and the interplays between weightlessness and acceleration are harmonic and hypnotic.
How wonderful it is, then, for adults and children alike to enter a mini world where bounce isn’t contained inside a boxing ring, but it’s everywhere you go – even right up to the treetops.
“Excitement and adventure”
This is Treetop Nets. A criss-cross of rope ladders, chutes and canvas bounceability, all enclosed in three-metre-high safe netting (no harnesses or cables needed here) so you and your children can jump and spin and, indeed, fall until the heart is content.
Blimey, it’s fun. Even for this middle-ager with a dodgy knee and the nagging nip of sciatica in tow. But for the kids (in our case at ages 3, 5 and 9) it’s a safe haven of excitement and adventure, with a bit of exploration and, of course, lots and lots and lots of bouncing.
It’s easy to find too, being right outside Lightwater Valley (you share its car park). After sign in, you’ll listen to a shortish safety talk before being let loose on the apparatus. You’ll pull yourself up roped walkways (don’t worry, it’s not too steep) on to large canvas trampolines. There are a few levels and gradually you work your way up into the trees.
In the various sections you’ll find soft rubber balls to play with, some small, some man-size, a few rabbit holes to zip down at lightning speed (remember to take the sack to avoid friction burns) and the occasional treehouse for respite.
The kids will charge around unshackled for two hours (that’s your time window to avoid over congestion) and doubtless end up ruddy faced and sweaty, ready for a snack and drink in the on-site cafe or on the various picnic areas underneath the nets.
As a quickfire day out for energetic kids and parents, Treetop Nets is ideal – but, of course, the weather needs to play ball (we got lucky). I really wouldn’t fancy it in the rain.
“If fun is your thing”
You might want to combine it to a trip to the neighbouring theme park, but remember the two locations are not connected and you will need to pay for both. Although it’s doubtful whether you’ll have the energy left for a trawl around Lightwater – we certainly didn’t.
It might be worth making sure everyone wears long sleeved shirts and full length trousers too. This isn’t officially recommended and I found that surprising – a few tumbles on the coarse nets can be quite tough going and the friction on the skin isn’t pleasant.
But overall, if fun is your thing and bouncing’s the game, why not get weightless at Treetop Nets – your whole mind and body will feel the benefits.
Treetop Nets, Lightwater Valley, Ripon, North Stainley, follow the brown directional signs.
Everyone welcome aged three and above.
Price: Children under five years old £13, children over five years old £20. Adults supervising kids under seven years old £13, adult regular participation £20.
Opening times: Currently open weekends until half-term holidays, then open 7 days through the holidays. Sessions throughout the day, check website for times, booking recommended to avoid disappointment.