Friday, 18 April 2014

The Gruffalo Trail at Salcey Forest

We were so excited for the Gruffalo Trail to come to our local Forestry Commission wood, so we took full advantage of the Bank Holiday sunshine and headed off to Salcey in Northamptonshire.  The self-led activity trails are in many Forestry Commission sites now until Autumn, and from June many will also be hosting 'life-size' carved Gruffalo sculptures - you can read all about it here and sign up for your free birthday party pack to help The Gruffalo celebrate his 15th Birthday in June here.

As with any self-led activity, you get out as little or as much as you put into it, so we went along full of excitement.  We took our well loved copy of the book to read in the car and all shouted out the words as we wound our way through the countryside.  We took our soft toys too - a mini Gruffalo and fox, we thought they'd like to come along for the ride.

As well as Ruby, we were joined by two of her cousins, so we had an age range from 2 to 7.  The trail start was well signposted and soon we were off!

There's an activity sheet you can purchase from the cafe for £2 but it's not necessary to complete the trail. We followed the signs, with the kids racing each other to see who could find them first.

On each one there's an activity - some involve collecting natural materials from the ground and making things, others encourage the children to think about the woodland, it's uses and the creatures who live there.

They had great fun moving like the different creatures from the book - slithering like a snake; tiptoeing like a mouse; swooping like and owl; scurrying like a fox and stomping like a Gruffalo!

I was very impressed with my nephew who knew all about alliteration, and they came up with descriptive words for the characters.

They hurtled off to find sticks to write with on the ground, and had a go at writing the character names for themselves.

There were loads of marker signs around the trail so it was easy to follow.  We spent up to 20 minutes at some - those that involved collecting and making, and just a few minutes at others, but each one had something to offer.  It was great to hear the whole age range discussing and chatting.

We made a logpile house for snake.

Some nature art too.  Here's my nephew's brilliant mouse with his nut.

And Ruby and her cousin made this other mouse on the floor.

We spent a good hour doing the trail, and when little legs were getting tired there was the motivation of the Gruffalo themed picnic I'd packed to spur them on.  More on that another time.

After our Gruffalo feast, energy restored there was time for a little mini den building before heading off to the tree top walk.

There was plenty of monkeying around when we were back nearer to the ground, and time for some balancing and climbing practice.

We had a fabulous day at Salcey.  Parking for the whole day is just £3 and we spent well over 4 hours there.  It was really busy on Good Friday and it was brilliant to see so many families enjoying the forests.  What better way to end our Gruffalo day than with owl ice cream?

Linking up with Country Kids.

Disclosure: I am an official blogger for the Forestry Commission and receive an annual Discovery Pass.


  1. Ooh your forest looks lovely! We enjoyed our trail too

  2. Ooooooh awesome day is awesome! I LOVE Salcey woods! That treetop trail is the business. Not been there in yonks.

  3. My son loves the Grufallo now and he would love to visit this place! Looks like you had so much fun in there and I am loving those polka dots cupcakes! #countrykids

  4. How magical is this?!!!! Can I come next time? It looks superb. And I feel that I have missed out on the whole Gruffalo fabulousness as I have teens.

  5. I can't wait to go to our local forest in June, probably near to L's birthday and see a Gruffalo! And I am intrigued by the Gruffalo picnic.


  6. ooooooo looks liek so much fun - and yummy looking cakes too!

  7. Fabulous! Looks brilliant and i love your little toadstools xx

  8. Yes, I got the email about this and we are planning to go to our local forest and do it. That tree top walk looks amazing and fab picnic Liz. Mich x

  9. I've just checked and they have a trail a little drive away from us but planning to make a day of it, it looks a fabulous trail

  10. We used to have this trial at Moors Valley it was so good! So much to keep them entertained but also lots of ways to develop learning and discussion. I love that they all took their teddies :)

  11. We love the Gruffalo at school

  12. What a fab day on the trail of the Gruffalo - as you say you get as much out as you put in! Including a picnic is not only great fun but also keeps the cost down making it a cost effective day out too. Thanks for linking up and sharing your outdoor fun with Country Kids.

  13. That looks great thew mice and your picnic looks awesome Liz

  14. This looks brilliant. My little boy is a huge fan of The Gruffalo and would just love this - we did the exhibition in Birmingham last summer and it was amazing.

    Linking up from #PlugyourPosts