It was some time ago that I discovered that The Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson was celebrating 15 years (see here). And in order to mark the popular children’s book’s anniversary, the Forestry Commission has been putting on nature trails throughout the UK since Spring.
With one thing or another, it did take us a long while to get our act together to take Monkey – he, like millions of other kids around the world, absolutely adores the book and the cartoon films that accompany it. In fact, even before the trails had been specifically designed with differing wooden sculptures of the big beast to be discovered at the end – with purple prickles on his back and terrible tusks and terrible paws – we used to go for walks in our locals woods and pretend to search for him and the ‘big bad mouse’.
This was our first visit to Alice Holt Forest, situated near Farnham in Surrey, and we were delighted to discover it is a wonderful natural resource, practically on our doorstep. It is a wildlife haven with cycling and walking trails and a kids playground, a huge wooden playhouse and a new play area with a network of tunnels in which kids can burrow like rabbits! Plus for the more adventurous souls, there is also a Go Ape assault course.
There is also a busy cafe serving hot and cold foods and plenty of picnic tables for families to enjoy their grub. We actually had a bite to eat first before heading off in to the ‘deep, dark, woods’ and while we happily munched on a panini, Monkey delighted in riding a wooden crocodile. But this was just the appetizer so to speak.