Rope courses

Includes: high ropes, low ropes, assault course, leap of faith, trapeze, high all aboard, jacob's ladder, high wires, land, outdoor Outdoors, Adventurous activities, Height

Print this activity pack

Tackle an assault course

Rope courses include challenge after challenge, from tightrope walks to leaping through the air!


Rope courses are purpose-built assault courses, often built in trees. They vary in height and level of challenge and are popular activities for personal development and teambuilding.

Rope courses often feature wires to walk on, platforms to jump from, poles to scale and places to balance. These courses are designed to be challenging and take you out of your comfort-zone in a safe environment.

To take part, you'll need to find a reputable local activity provider with a safe course and qualified instructors.

High rope courses are an adventurous activity and should follow the adventurous activity policy and procedure. Low rope courses should follow the health, safety and welfare policy and procedure.

Approved: 18 July 2022
Version: 2.0
Content owner: Adventure team

Planning checklist

If you're working with an external provider or external instructors to run this activity outside the unit meeting space, follow these extra steps. 

  • Arrange for a home contact. Leave any route or other relevant details with your home contact and complete a home contact agreement form. Let them know if you make any changes to your plans.
  • Tell your local commissioner.
  • Tell the activity provider about the ability and experience of the participants and any disabilities, access needs or health conditions that need to be considered when running the activity.
  • Choose a reputable and licensed activity provider (where applicable).
  • Check the qualified adults hold the correct qualification to be able to run the activity (see the information below).
  • Get copies of the instructor qualifications and public liability insurance of the activity provider before you book.
  • Ask for a copy of the providers' safety guidelines and risk assessment.
  • Make sure you have the correct ratio of participants (girls and volunteers) to qualified adults (those running the activity). This is different to the ratio of leaders to girls.
  • Check with the venue that they have the correct equipment and, if needed, specialist clothing that will meet the requirements for your group.
  • Source any specialist equipment or clothing needed to run the activity not provided by the venue, and make sure this is in good condition and fit for purpose.
  • Check that any equipment is suitably insured by the provider and agree what happens to the equipment if it gets damaged.

Some venues might ask for a disclaimer or waiver to be signed for each person taking part in the activity. This is something which parents/carers must sign on behalf of their child. You can do this along with the consent form. Parents and carers should be given sufficient information from the provider along with the waiver so they can make an informed decision to sign it or not. Leaders can only sign disclaimers and waivers for their own personal participation.

The required qualifications and experience of instructors will depend on the nature of the ropes course. To ensure that instructors are appropriately skilled for the course, use a reputable commercial provider. Ask your outdoor activities adviser for recommendations and check the training and qualifications of the instructors used by the centre.

For high ropes courses

The instructors must have been assessed by a person who holds a Mountain Training UK (MTUK) MIA or MIC, or European Ropes Course Association (ERCA) Trainer qualification.

If you have any questions, contact [email protected].

You can verify the quality of a provider by checking it has one of the following endorsements: AALA, Adventuremark or LotC Quality Badge for Adventure. AALA and LotC are not applicable in Northern Ireland, but Sport Northern Ireland confirm the implementation of Adventuremark as a suitable adventure activity accreditation scheme for activity providers in Northern Ireland. Or you can ask your local outdoor activities adviser to recommend an approved provider.

Members taking part in high ropes activities should only use centres where the course and system has been signed off by a person who holds an MTUK MIA or MIC, and who also acts as technical advisor for the centre’s high ropes course. Any queries should be referred to the Girlguiding climbing technical adviser. Contact Volunteer Support for further guidance.

Visit the course prior to booking the activity if possible and liaise with the activity provider to ensure the difficulty level of the course is appropriate to the participants.

Helmets should be worn when doing this activity where this is considered best practice by the centre for their course. 

The ratios below are given as a maximum and ratios must be considered as part of the risk assessment, this may lessen due to any medical conditions, physical ability or other factors.

Leadership team ratio

As this activity will take place outside of your usual meeting place the leadership team adult to child ratio is mandatory.

  • Rainbows: 1:5, at least 2 adults
  • Brownies: 1:8
  • Guides: 1:12
  • Rangers: 1 Girlguiding leader

Qualified adult/participant ratio

The activity leader (qualified adult) should determine what size of group is safe. There must be enough qualified adults to ensure the safety of all participants.

The number will be determined by any limitations placed on their qualification, permit or the rules of their operating organisation as well as the risk assessment. This should take into consideration the location, weather and experience of both the qualified adult and other participants. The leader should assess the risk and any concerns must be raised to them.