Oh help, oh no, it's a Gruffalo

For my son's 1st birthday we wanted to go on a family day out, and decided to try out one of the Forestry Commission's Gruffalo Spotters trails. There are 26 locations to choose from, and we headed to Wendover Woods.

The trail itself is free, with car parking costing just a few pounds. We decided to invest £3 in a Gruffalo Spotters Activity Kit, but you wouldn't have to in order to enjoy the trail. With the kit you get a little Spotters Guide where you can fill in the clues as you find them, and then add a sticker as you find each character - stickers are always a hit with us! You also got a little ruler/magnifying glass thing, which my daughter had no idea what she was doing with but clutched onto the whole way round! You also get some animal activity/fact cards but we didn't look at those until we got home.

Gruffalo trail

The walk itself isn't particularly accessible - I mean, it's in a forest - so we popped the birthday boy in the Boba carrier and off we went. Our family knows the story really well (as do most households with kids up and down the country!!!) having read the book a million times, listened to the audio book, seen the animation and been into London to see the stage show, so my daughter was really into it. She spotted all the clues herself and loved tracking them in her guide. My son was obviously a bit young to really appreciate it but he loves being outdoors and watching the trees.

The best bit about the whole thing was the Gruffalo Spotter phone app. Once you found each character in the forest there was a circular marker point. Line the app up with the marker and the animated characters appear on your screen. I'm glad I downloaded the app in advance as signal was obviously a bit patchy in the forest. We had no problems with the app until the 5th and final marker, where we struggled to get the Gruffalo to appear. We did eventually, but after a lot of perseverance.

My daughter was a bit tentative about the app. She couldn't understand why we were making her stand next to big circles so I showed her this photo...

She then freaked out about being sniffed by a fox so used me as a barrier for the owl!

We did persuade her to get back involved in the app but she couldn't really work it out.

Once we'd done the trail we took our packed lunch to a picnic bench. Although we took lunch with us there is a cafe on site, and plenty of people were making use of the BBQ points, which seemed like a lovely idea. We finished off our day with a play in the park and a short walk to find the big Gruffalo sculpture, which was a big hit.

Ok, it was a bit of a drive for us to get to the forest, but what a lovely day out to celebrate such a special day.