Update July 2019: Following the success of the Gruffalo, Stick Man and Highway Rat trails at Forestry Commission sites across England, Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler’s magical children’s picture book, Zog, will be the new activity trail for families to enjoy in the nation’s forests this winter. Launched on 11 January 2019, the trails will follow the premiere of Zog from Magic Light Pictures, on BBC One this Christmas.
To celebrate the Gruffalo’s 20th anniversary Forestry England has revealed their top 10 family picnic sites to enjoy this summer along with a fun, free activity pack full of forest activities and Gruffalo inspired picnic ideas. Great for birthday parties or family adventures, anytime, in any forest!
The top five recipe ideas include a gruffalo crumble, mouse’s summer time treats, roasted fox rolls, scrambled snake quiche and owl cupcakes.
The party packs also include blank Gruffalo invitations so visitors can invite their family and friends, recommended party games such as ‘Pin the wart on the Gruffalo,’ and ‘What’s the time Mr Gruffalo,’ as well as different activity sheets to keep the children inspired during their time in the forest.
To help you plan the perfect Gruffalo picnic this summer, here are Forestry England’s top 10 spots:
1. Jeskyns Community Woodlands – Kent
Grab a picnic and head down to Jeskyns where you can enjoy lunch with the Gruffalo himself as well as Mouse, Fox, Owl and of course Snake. You’ll find all our wonderful Gruffalo character sculptures in the Tree House Play Area, just a short walk from the car park. Remember your party hats!
2. Wyre Forest – Worcester
Set aside a day for a leisurely family walk. Follow the Buzzard trail, Wyre Forest’s longest walking trail at 3 miles, leading you through mixed woodland and forest pools to the arboretum which makes the perfect spot for a picnic. If you venture into the deep dark wood you may even bump into the Gruffalo or the Gruffalo’s Child sculptures.
3. Alice Holt – Surrey
Enjoy a tasty treat in the forest at one of the beautiful picnic areas, located throughout Alice Holt Forest. Children will love the Timberline play trail with its adventure climbing units, challenging balance beams, wobbly bridges and exhilarating slides – hours of play for all the family. Why not finish your visit with a quiet stroll or bike ride in one of the more remote parts of the forest?
4. Hamsterley Forest – County Durham
Hamsterley forest is one of the best places to enjoy some alfresco dining with your family. Build up an appetite by enjoying the fun family play trail which is set along a buggy friendly path, straddling both sides of the bubbling beck. After enjoying all of the ingredients of a great adventure including forts and boats, mud and water, settle yourself down along the river to enjoy your picnic and a paddle.
5. Fineshade Wood – Northamptonshire
With lovely picnic areas right next to both its main play areas, Fineshade Wood is the perfect destination for a family picnic. Enjoy the Smelter’s trail, a short, circular family friendly walk. Along the trail you can look out for red kites and nightingales, or dormice and newts. So while we can’t promise you’ll see all the characters from The Gruffalo, you might see their cousins!
6. Great Wood – Somerset
A stunning site in the Quantocks, the wide meadow in Great Wood is a perfect spot to enjoy a family picnic or BBQ, a kick about or a game of frisbee. Spend some time exploring the nooks and crannies of Great Wood and admire some majestic Douglas fir along the two mile red walk, which is ideal for families.
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