Children and adults visiting Stourhead gardens in Wiltshire can shin up trees of up to 50ft high in a move that cocks a definite snook at most 'elf and safety' trends - which included one London council announcing a ban on children climbing trees in parks amid safety fears.
National Trust spokesman Allan King told Parentdish: "The tree climbing experience is a new feature at Stourhead for this year. We've had companies come in and do occasional days before but this is now being run by the team at Stourhead who have been trained to take people safely up into the high branches.
"They use the same ropes system as tree surgeons would use and can take people up to viewpoints in the trees as high as 50 feet off the ground.
"The main tree climbing experience includes a picnic, a trip on a rowing boat to the island in the middle of the lake at Stourhead and then a climb into the high branches of the Tulip tree on the island.. There is a hammock rigged in the tree and some people like to have their picnic up in the branches. We have had some children's birthday parties in and a hen party – who also pointed out that it would be a great place to be proposed to!
"We also do some basic tree climbing days when children can have a short climb up into a tree with ropes for £5 a go.
"Health and safety often gets mentioned – we have done all the hard work in the background to make the big tree climbs are safe. The trees used have been inspected carefully, staff are trained, full equipment is provided including harnesses and climbing helmets and life jackets for the boat trip. We want people to have the thrill and the adrenaline rush of getting up high into the trees in this iconic landscape garden while we look after the safety.
"Stourhead is known across the world for its spectacular autumn colours – and what better place to see them than from high in the trees. But we're also showing people that this great landscape garden can provide a bit of outdoor fun for the whole family."
What do you think? Do you encourage your kids to climb trees, or do you worry too much about falls and accidents?
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