The treetops of Bedgebury Forest are home to a new high-wire adventure course. Reporter Jon Cheetham goes along to find out more and get into the swing of things.

In The Kinks' song Ape Man, Ray Davies, fed up with traffic and city life, confessed he often felt like tearing off his clothes and swinging around in a coconut tree. He longed to be an ape man. If you have ever felt this way, have dreamt of putting evolution into reverse and can't resist heading back into the treetops, then Go Ape could be top of your list of great days out.

The high-wire forest adventure course of rope bridges, Tarzan swings and zip slides is 40ft above ground in the pine trees of Bedgebury Forest in Kent.

It might sound a bit scary, but this is the idea.

Without the sensation of risk it would only be half the fun. Don't worry, though, it is all completely safe.

After fitting my harness, instructor Stephen Mercer, 23, took me through the necessary safety steps before I tried out a low-level course, just six feet up.

Then I was ready to go. There are five courses, each offering different challenges of varying degrees of difficulty.

They are all colour-coded, from blue for moderate, to red for difficult, to black for extreme.

The first course is blue and gets you into the swing of things with a leap of faith from a wooden platform into a cargo net. By the time you reach course five, you realise this first flight into the void is child's play.

You exit each course via zip lines between 30 and 50 metres long. If you can land on your feet, so much the better. If you can't, expect to be picking woodchips out of your shirt for the rest of the day.

Maybe I am a bit of a sadist, but part of the fun was watching the looks of terror on people's faces at different points of the course.

The young couple behind me started confidently enough but once the tree they were standing on started to sway in the breeze, they returned to terra firma to continue a domestic.

There were plenty of us - a mix of families and groups of friends, young and old - up there who were more suited to swinging in the forest canopy.

Some sections require a bit of effort but there are plenty of places to stop and get your breath back.

Go Ape was started by Tristram and Rebecca Mayhew, who found a tree-top course in the Auvergne National Forest while on holiday in France.

They had such a great time, they jumped off the corporate ladder on to a rope one, opening the first Go Ape centre in Thetford Forest, East Anglia in 2002.

The Bedgebury Forest course is the newest of 12 UK centres.

Call 0870 111 0200 or visit