Hot on the heels of our theatre trip to see The Gruffalo’s Child at the Arts Depot, we braved the freezing temperatures last Sunday to find the Gruffalo in Wendover Woods in the Chilterns. The Forestry Commission have been helping to celebrate the Gruffalo’s 15th birthday by staging a range of activities. 24 forests across the country are hosting self-led Gruffalo’s Child activity trails featuring Gruffalo-themed fun activities to do along the way, from nest building to quizzes and learning about the forest. 15 forests, including Wendover, also have a giant wooden Gruffalo sculpture to find too!
We had actually planned to go on Saturday but after checking the website we found out that the woods were closed due to the strong winds! Good job we checked. The winds had calmed by Sunday and the sun was shining beautifully despite the chill. I think that everyone who had wanted to go on Saturday came on Sunday too – the car parks were full by the time we got there at 11am though we managed to park OK at the side of the woodland road. I popped into the cafe to buy the Gruffalo’s Trail pack as described on their website but unfortunately they didn’t have any left. The very helpful cafe guy said that the Woodland Trust had stopped producing them now but the trail was easy to navigate without a pack and he even came out of the – very busy – cafe to point me in the right direction. He was right, the trail was very easy to follow and we could still take part in the little quizzes and tasks along the way which provided ample excitement for our 3 year old (and me).
We bought the book along with us too and enjoyed reading it on the way and when we sat down for a break. After the mandatory loo visits (still trying to get Seren to buy into the concept of going anyway whether you need it or not…) we set off. We used the buggy and buggy board to do the trail and found the terrain fine (if you don’t mind getting muddy!).
We didn’t get very far before Imogen declared she was very, very upset about something and after realising the time we stopped to feed her. Which meant Seren wanted a snack too. Which meant that she might as well have lunch. Which meant we should all have an early lunch. Before we set off again we found a ‘Stick Man’ to accompany us on our hunt which Seren was thrilled with. He’s come home with us too and takes pride of place on Seren’s shelf next to her bridesmaid wand.
We continued round the path, stopping to read the signs and play the little games and eventually finding the mouse, owl, snake and fox!
We didn’t do any of the foraging or building type activities but read all the panels and did the little quizzes on them. Just after the fox there is a den building area (not part of the trail) that looked very cool but Seren was a bit too cold to muster the enthusiasm to get involved in this. One for the summer perhaps.
She soon cheered up when we found the Gruffalo’s Child – hurrah!
Then she was almost a little scared when, lastly, we found the Gruffalo! She made daddy go with her to give the Gruffalo a big hug.
Then we admired the view over the Chilterns before heading back to the start of the trail and back to the car to defrost.The trail took us around an hour including stopping for lunch and walking slowly.
Find out more about the Gruffalo’s Child Trails and giant Gruffalo sculptures.
Wendover Woods also has a children’s play area, cafe and a branch of Go Ape! Parking is Pay & Display.