There’s no such thing as a Gruffal….oh – Trail

Adventures

Take a stroll through the deep dark wood and look out for the mouse, snake, fox and owl, but there’s no such thing as a Gruffalo….. or is there!! Get your little Rascals out in the fresh air and they’ll be entertained hunting for the Gruffalo on a trail through the woods. The Forestry Commission has 26 Gruffalo trails across the country. Download the Gruffalo App before you leave home, then when you get there follow the clues and footprints through the woods on a search for the characters and maybe even a Gruffalo!!

We went to Wendover Woods, just a quick hop up the A41 for us, and the trail is free to do so even better! The usual nervous breakdown leaving the house with a newborn as well as the Chief Rascal resulted in a stop at the Coop on the way to pick up a couple of meal deals. I know it’s a total cheat but I’m now a convert and this is definitely the way forward when I’m being totally disorganised and feeling sleep deprived. The woods were easy enough to find following the sat nav, but, look out for the signs too as we would have missed the entrance as it was taking us further up the hill.

Where to start

We began at the lovely little ‘Cafe in the Woods’ to pick up the activity pack for £3 and a pit stop in the nice clean toilets with toilet roll (always a bonus girls!) before we started. The activity pack comes in a little brown bag that you use as an ‘evidence’ bag on the way round. If you’re like us and always bring home half the woods with you anyway! You know the leaves, stones, twigs etc, it made a nice change not to find a little woodland treat in the washing machine!! You don’t have to buy the activity pack to do the trail but we liked:

  • The activity cards and fact cards for each of the characters, there are some interesting facts about the animals you’re tracking – What does a fox like to eat? Where do mice live?
  • A magnifying glass to spot animal clues.
  • Stickers of the characters for the activity book once you’ve found them. Of course the stickers never make it to where they are intended but the inside of the car looks nice!

The trail

The trail at Wendover is about 2km long, it’s a steep walk down and bone rattling to say the least for prams. My poor baby didn’t stay asleep for long, to avoid a severe head injury he was straight in the sling. After the first 10 minutes though its pretty flat and for the 3 year old easy-going for the rest of the walk.

But just when you think all is well in the deep dark wood, the baby decides that this will be the moment he will do THE poo of all poos. You know the type, up your back under your armpit, there’s no way you’re getting this vest off me without it going in my hair sort of poo’s. Just the type you want in the middle of a woodland walk. Good work, thanks for that. Luckily there is a little clearing half way round, where there is a bench and a log you can sit/climb on. It’s a great place to stop for your pre-packed sarny’s and emergency nappy and outfit change!

The trail leads you back up to the car park through a BBQ area, this looks like it will be loads of fun in the summer. The BBQ’s are free to use on a first come first come basis. The area was a hive of activity of groups of people setting up for the day, kids running around and families playing frisbee. There was a nice atmosphere and another great place to stop for snacks.

When we got back we headed to the play area for a climb up the ropes and had the obligatory ice cream before we headed home, thoroughly worn out.

We had a great morning at the woods and our little rascal loved following the footprints, making the characters come alive and having photos with them.

Tips

  • You can take multiple pictures with each of the characters EXCEPT the Gruffalo where you only get one chance, so be prepared!!
  • If you want to do the Gruffalo trail be quick as the trails are closing down soon! Most by the end of November. Check out your local trail for the closing date here.
  • We paid for 2 hours parking for £1.70 but felt we had to rush back to the car in the end, so I’d suggest the 2-4 hour parking for £3.30.
  • If you have a new baby a pram isn’t great for the first part of the trail and will definitely be worse in wet weather.

 

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