Future 50 List
Jerome Mayhew
Go Ape

Up in the trees and through the forests, Go Ape is continuing on its course of business success in the adventure leisure market.

The leading world operator in its niche of tree based high ropes courses has continued to take its UK domination abroad in the last year.

About 500,000 people swing through the trees with Go Ape each year, creating revenue of £11m in 2011.

Its core product is the Go Ape tree top adventure, where customers are fitted with a harness, given instruction and then trek from tree to tree high above the forest floor. More recently Go Ape forest segway and Go Ape forest biking have been added to the mix.

The first tree top adventure course was opened at Thetford in 2002. By 2006 seven courses had been established in England. By 2010 that number had expanded to 27 across the UK and a new joint venture in the USA.

'The key drivers of our success to date have been the development of landowner relationships, our highly effective operations structure, the development of a strong brand and the fantastic customer experience provided by our course teams,' said Tristram Mayhew, who founded the company with his wife, Rebecca.

The coming year will see further brand building, with marketing to the existing customer base to introduce them to new products.

Following on from a successful trial of the new Go Ape explorer adventure, a treetop adventure accessible to children as young as four, the business hopes to roll out this product to other forests throughout the UK as well as bringing all existing products to several further locations.

The target for 2013 is 70 courses worldwide.

Location: Thetford
Sector: Leisure
Turnover: £11m
Staff: 400
Website: www.goape.co.uk
The target for 2013 is 70 courses worldwide.