Review: The Gruffalo Trail – Delamere Forest
Weekends are family time for us, whether it’s making imaginative things with Lego, playing Playmobil, Playdoh or anything else which H (and of course Daddy) loves to do, we always dedicate it to time spent together. We also love the great outdoors and ever since we had H we have become lovers of adventures (we don’t call them walks anymore).
On Sunday we woke to a small settling of snow and a lovely sunny morning so decided to drive to Delamere Forest in Cheshire (about an hour away) to see the Gruffalo’s Trail.
The Gruffalo’s trail is an initiative being rang be the Forestry Commission to celebrate the 15th Anniversary of the Gruffalo being written by one of our families favourite authors, Julia Donaldson. Back in spring and across 15 of their Forest’s were specially created Gruffalo trails which included a giant carved Gruffalo sculpture. The Forestry Commission has now updated these this winter to the Gruffalo’s Child. These are free events whereby all you need is some imagination, an eagle eye, some time and you can create an adventure of your own. All you need to do it pay for your parking (check local prices are these can differ) and your ready to go. An accompanying activity pack is available to purchase there costing £2, however this doesn’t stop you from doing the trail. We did purchase it and it contains a couple of activities, a pencil to complete these and a paper bag for collecting leaves, twigs and anything else you can use to make pictures from when back home. I would say for the younger children, this isn’t necessary although 5yrs+ may find it fun and a good way of enriching their experience.
The trail itself is fantastically sign posted with arrows leading the way through the forest so don’t worry about getting lost in the deep dark woods. At regular intervals there are mini activities on boards which were great as it meant H’s focus was kept throughout. These included looking for trails, building dens and matching animals featured in the stories to their natural habitats. Along the way there are animals above your heads pinned to trees containing letters you can use to make a word once you have completed your trail, this is great for older children’s spelling but a little too far for H at the moment, although he still enjoyed spotting them out.
We took our pushchair and carrier for D and the pushchair was more than capable for the walk and this was on an icy day, D slept throughout. H did start to waiver towards the end of the 1.5 mile walk, (he’s a boy and we are lazy at times) but the promise of finding the Gruffalo and a stop at the cafe for possibly some “Snake Soup” or “Gruffalo Cake” was enough to get him through to the end.
The Gruffalo itself is a beautiful carved sculpture out of wood and was extremely tall (although I would say that given Mrs F and I being just over 5 foot) but we couldn’t stop without taking some photos of him.
The cafe indeed did sell Gruffalo Cake but fortunately no Snake Soup as H was keen on Daddy to try this… it did sell plenty of treats for all the family and prices were in line with what you’d expect.
The walk and coffee stop took around 2 hours in total but was fantastic fun and great to spend some time outdoors as a family. The trail run’s until February and is well worth a visit.
For more details and to find your local forest visit the Forestry Commission’s website at www.forestry.gov.uk