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Why tree-climbing is making a comeback

Mark Hawes, Director of The Big Tree Climbing Company explains how tree-climbing is fulfilling our need for safe thrills, and how it can boost confidence as well as help connect us to nature.
22 September 2017
Blog team: 
Mark Hawes

Seeking adventure safely

A few years ago tree-climbing was well and truly out of favour - with children more likely to hurt themselves falling out of their bunk bed than a tree. But thanks to professional tree-climbing companies appearing around the country, it is back on the agenda for children and adults alike.

While Wakehurst doesn’t usually allow the climbing of its trees – as a botanical garden with protected tree collections – it does make an exception several times a year for a professional tree climbing company to take visitors up into the canopies of two dedicated trees.

Iain Parkinson, Wakehurst’s Conservation and Woodlands Manager says: “There’s nothing we like better than to see people enjoying and connecting with nature, which is why we allow tree-climbing at various family festivals and during the summer holidays. We know our visitors will be safe, and that our trees will be treated carefully.”

The Big Tree Climbing Company, which regularly takes Wakehurst’s more adventurous visitors high up into the tree canopies, has tapped into the fact that many of us want excitement and adventure -  but what we definitely don’t want is to end up in A&E!

Director Mark Hawes explains that by learning to climb with a professional company, which has all the necessary safety equipment, you can have all the fun without the risk.

Tree climbing at Wakehurst (Image: Jim Holden)

A bird's eye view from Mark Hawes

Tree climbing is a thrill, an adrenaline rush – and to step out of our comfort zone once in a while is good for all of us.

With the combination of our highly experienced instructors as well as all the necessary ropes and harnesses, we can put even the most anxious minds at rest. We have rigorous safety procedures so there is no need to be worried.

Last year The Big Tree Climbing Company, which I started in 2008, enabled 9,000 adults and children to get a bird’s eye view of the world as they learnt to climb to the top of a tree.

Tree climbing at Wakehurst (Image: Jim Holden)

Connecting with nature

It’s a wonderful experience - a feeling of weightlessness and disconnection from everyday life. It’s also a great way of building confidence, learning to trust yourself and other people. It also motivates you to try other things. You only build confidence by trying difficult things and conquering your fears.

One of the best bits for me is seeing adults and children connecting with the natural world and I am sure this will encourage them to explore it more, to be engaged with it and to protect it for generations to come.

- Mark Hawes -

For more information about The Big Tree Climbing Company phone: 0800 0556760 or email: