Tuesday 16 September 2014

We're going on a Gruffalo hunt... #weloveforests

Last month my eldest turned seven while we were staying in the beautiful Keswick Country House hotel, we were looking for things to do on his special day and Whinlatter Forest soon became top of our list, especially after reading about what a lovely time Red Rose Mummy and her family had earlier this year. The Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffer is one of our family's favorite stories and we know it off by heart.

So after a delicious breakfast we set out on a very special adventure, we were going to the woods to hunt for...

The Gruffalo!!!

Just a few minutes drive from Keswick centre we started up the steep road into Whinlatter, England's only true Mountain Forest. Even from the car, as we got higher and higher the views became breathtaking.

Once we'd arrived and paid parking we walked over to the ranger's kiosk and asked about the Gruffalo Trail, the children were each given a sheet on which they cold tick of each animal they found in the deep, dark woods, they were told if they cold be really clever and find all of the animals from the story that were hidden in the forest then they cold come back and get a sticker and some colouring sheets. We also purchased a Gruffalo trial guide, a little steep at £2 for a few extra little activities but They children loved having their little 'map!'

At the prospect of a sticker they ran up into the forest ready to start the hunt...

We started at the enchanted Forest Area which as full of exciting hidden sculptures and forest art, both children loved running around finding carved wizards and animal tucked away in the forest.

Elizabeth soon spotted our first sign and we started our hunt, determined to hunt do the Gruffalo and friends...

Every so often they was a sign that suggested an activity and these varied from Den building to doing a warm up dance and sing their senes to experience the forest around them.

After seeking through the deep dark woods, the children found each character one by one, until the only one missing was the Gruffalo himself...

After turning a corner, Ben spotted something big out of the corner of his eye...

Could it be?

Yes, it was.

The Gruffalo.

A creature with terrible claws, and terrible tusks in its terrible jaws, and knobbly knees and turned-out toes, and a poisonous wart at the end of its nose. 

But Mouse has no worry to show. 

After all, there’s no such thing as a Gruffalo...

The end of the trail took us in to the younger children's part of the play area,  which Elizabeth was fascinated with. This wasn't an ordinary swing park, this is an area of natural play of leaning about the things around you and having fun and that's just what she did!

From the 3rd of October the Gruffalo Trails will be being replaced by the even more exciting Gruffalo's Child trail for the winter months, continuing the nationwide celebrations of the 10th anniversary of the book’s publication.

“The trails will be an amazing adventure, encouraging visitors to make the most of the autumn and winter seasons in our beautiful forests alongside one of the all-time favourite book characters.”

Later this winter, several uniquely carved wooden sculptures of The Gruffalo’s Child will be placed in selected forests around England
During spring and summer 2014, more than 10,000 children, including mine, met the Gruffalo himself and hundreds of thousands followed the Gruffalo activity trails through Forestry Commission England woods and forests. You can find further information on the Forestry Commision England Website.
For just the cost of parking, our lunch (and the optional £2 trail booklet) it was an amazing day out that was thoroughly enjoyed by all four of us. A great vale family day out that allowed us to relax and explore in beautiful natural surroundings...

Have you followed a Gruffalo Trail? Will you be following one of the new Grfufalo's Child Trails from October? Do let us know what you think...

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall


  1. We love the gruffalo, will be checking to see if there is anything near us as I am sure George and Molly would love it.

  2. I love seeing all the other Gruffalos. I can't wait until they change and I will be going to the new one.

  3. Oh we love the Gruffalo and the Gruffalo's child! And really want to do this soon. Great photos xx #CountryKids

  4. Coombe Mill (Fiona)Tuesday, September 23, 2014

    I wish my children were still young enough to enjoy this, everytime I see a Gruffalo post I think what a great link up it is with the forestry commission. Looks like someone had a perfect birthday treat. thank you for sharing with me on Country Kids


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