There’s no such thing as a Gruffalo…is there?
We absolutely loved the Stick Man Trail that the Forestry Commission created last year so were looking forward to seeing what the Gruffalo Trail had in store for us, especially as there’s a new funky interactive app to go with it this time! We weren’t disappointed!
Gruffalo Spotting takes place at 26 Forestry Commission forests across the UK so there’s bound to be one near you. Please see the links at the end of this blog to check them all out.
We live in Warwickshire so there’s two Gruffalo Trails near us, Salcey Forest in Northamptonshire and Cannock Chase in Staffordshire. We haven’t been to Cannock Chase yet, but some friends of ours have and they loved it, they commented on the excellent play area there too.
Salcey Forest is about 50 minutes drive from our home in Leamington Spa so not too long. We arrived about 10am and the children played in the playground which has lots of ropes and things to climb. There are toilet facilities (nice & clean!) next to this area and a cafe with indoor and outdoor seating.
Dogs are allowed around the whole forest and theres no problem sitting in the outside cafe area with your pup too. There are lots of dog bowls scattered around which is handy.
You can pick up an activity pack for £3 which includes cards, stickers, a pencil and a magnifying glass. Sadly when we went to get ours today we were told these had sold out a couple of weeks ago and they weren’t expecting them in for another two weeks. To be honest you don’t really need the pack but our daughter loved having one when we did the Stick Man Trail last year .
We set off on our Gruffalo Trail which is really well signposted throughout. There is my husband and I, our children aged four and seven and my cousin, her husband and their twins who are almost two and my Mum and her dog! The trail really appealed to all of the children, I would say it’s a perfect day out if you have a mixture of ages to cater for.
There are sign posts on the way round which give small clues as to which animal from the story you’re going to discover next
When you’ve discovered the picture the next step is to find the large circular images to use with the app. The app itself is so easy to use, the children don’t need to press any buttons, all you need to do is point your camera at the circle and the character comes to life in front of you in the forest! The characters move and have sound too and once you’ve watched the character appear in front of your eyes you can have your picture taken with them! My kids have not stopped looking at the pics on my phone since we got back! They love it! I’ll just share one picture with you so as not to spoil the surprise.
Along the path there are lots of opportunities to run off and play with side paths, den building areas and an area with little wooden play houses which was such a hit with the twins!
In total the Gruffalo Trail took us about an hour, that was with lots of little stops and exploring too.
When you’ve finished following the trail it brings you back in a loop near to the carpark, play area and cafe so you could choose to finish there. But if you’re like us and you were having a lovely time just wandering, you can carry on and do the Tree Top walk, which takes you up ramps all the way to up to the highest tree (again, pushchair, and wheelchair friendly). I would really recommend this as there are beautiful views at the top and it feels like a real adventure!
There are lots of other things to do at Salcey Forest, if you have children over 6 they can take part in Tree Ninja which is a tree top course. Booking is advisable. More information on the Tree Ninja website here
There are also some events on the for small people such as:
Tinder Tots – Join us for a morning of fun, mud and adventure in Salcey Forest. The sessions are based around play, stories, mud, crafts, mud, singing and more! Talk a short walk, swing in hammocks, enjoy natural crafts, games, free-range play and even campfire cooking.
MY TOP TIPS
- Aim to arrive by 10am – or go later on in the day. There’s not loads of parking and it can get busy, on the two occasions we have been there were plenty of spaces just before 10am but by lunchtime people were parking along the road which is far from ideal.
- Feel free to take bikes, scooters and pushchairs, the walkways in Salcey Forest are flat and not too bumpy. Making it perfect for pushchairs and we found the scooter really helps avoid tired legs halfway round.
- Remember some change for the car park – we paid £4 for the day.
- Take a picnic, there are loads of picnic benches and places to stop along the way, we left our picnic in the car and collected it at the end of our walk, the trail takes you round in a loop and perfect timing if you set off around 10.30/11.
- Take a bag for your rubbish, there are no bins!
- Download the Gruffalo Spotter App before you leave home, there’s no signal in Salcey Forest. (It doesn’t require signal to work).
We had such a lovely day at Salcey Forest, I can’t wait to try out some of the others. It’s a shame to note that some of the signs were broken, but they all still worked with the app and we were assured more have been ordered.
Please do check back to find more days out in Warwickshire and the UK. If you would like to write a review to inspire other families please drop us a line here. We would love to hear from you.
The Forestry Commission Website – for info on other locations etc.
We have not been asked or paid to write this review, we are just spreading the love 🙂 Let us know if you go! x