Dear Mummy, my family took a stroll through the deep, dark wood… after years of trying to track the Gruffalo down armed with new information from the Forestry commission we headed to Bolderwood in The New Forest. The Gruffalo is a much-loved children’s book and we’ve been on many hunts to find the Gruffalo, more recently at Mottisfont with The National Trust. We love nothing more than reliving the tale from the book and it always makes our adventures into the woods more exciting.
However this trip was different, you see we were using a Gruffalo Spotter app that made the characters from the story appear in the forest right in front of us! Magic Light Pictures and the Forestry Commission England have brought the Gruffalo characters to life. When you point the app at special markers around the trail, you can interact with the characters, thanks to augmented reality technology. You’ll see the characters blending in with the scenery around you! The app is free from the App Store, Google Play and Amazon so you can download it before your visit.
At first my folks had some reservations, the whole point of heading into the countryside was to get away from technology and soak up nature. We can see how the app would add to the experience by taking pictures with the various characters and saving them to our photos, unfortunately on our visit my mummy’s phone battery and signal was playing up so we didn’t get to take many photos with the app, however it was nice being off grid for a little while 🙂
What we loved more was the Spotters Activity Kit available for £3 at the Bolderwood visitor centre. It kept us amused for ages. Inside there was an evidence collection bag, 5 animal activity and facts cards, a Spotter’s Guide, stickers of the Gruffalo characters, a special magnifying glass, ruler and a pencil. The trail is easy to complete without this pack or the app by following the signs however I liked collecting the stickers in my guide-book and we liked completing the challenges along the way.
I stashed all my finds and goodies in my Gruffalo rucksack from Little Life, which was the talk of the forest as all the other visitors wanted one. Even my travel companion, a miniature Gruffalo Key Ring from Aurora World caused children to shout that they found the Gruffalo.
We walked around the trail which is about 1.8 miles long with signs along the way (three for each character of Mouse, Fox, Owl, Snake and of course Gruffalo). The Forestry Commission are brilliant at putting on these trails and it’s a great way to get families out walking. Along the trail were signs with spinning wheels to give you a clue as to who you might spot next.
I loved the dens that people had made and were still left for others to hide in. We played for some time tree climbing on fallen trucks. The signs dotted around helped me remember the characters in the book. The Gruffalo Trail is free to do, we only had to pay for our car parking which was a donation.
Bolderwood is a lovely place to stop for a picnic, there are picnic benches, BBQ areas and a large field for you to lay your picnic rug on. There was also an ice cream van, which was perfect as I had a lolly as a reward after our long walk.
You’ll be able to visit Bolderwood, Alice Holt or Moors Valley Country Park to take part in the Forestry Commission’s Gruffalo Spotters trail around Hampshire and beyond, searching for clues in the forest. Look out for Mouse’s tiny footprints, Snake’s slithery trail and the Gruffalo’s huge footprint, along with other characters from the popular story. View our little video to see what we got up too…
The trail is open at Bolderwood until the 3rd September and the are 26 trail locations around the UK. If you’ve missed this event don’t worry, visit forestry.gov.uk/gruffalo for further information on future events.
Love Bella x