A family took a stroll through the deep dark Wendover Woods…
If you can forgive me for butchering one of the (probably) most famous opening lines in children’s book history, then let me share our recent adventure in search of The Gruffalo. Toddler L loves all things Gruffalo. We read the book – and Gruffalo’s Child – a hell of a lot, plus watch the film a good few times each week. We even had a Gruffalo feast not too long ago.
As such, when I heard about The Gruffalo Spotters Trail and accompanying free app from Forestry Commission, I knew it was something we’d have to do one weekend. So the other week, we downloaded The Gruffalo Spotter app, put on our wellies and headed over to the nearby Wendover Woods in the search of Mouse, Fox, Owl, Snake and The Gruffalo. If you don’t like words, then check out my video below of our spotting adventures:
We’ve been to Wendover Woods a number of times before – there’s plenty of walks, an outdoor play area, a cafe and a huge, wooden Gruffalo ‘statue’. The Gruffalo Spotters Trail signs took us on a different route to where we’ve been before though. It started by the play area, took us down a long hill, back around to a viewpoint over the Chilterns and through the BBQ / picnic area. It was about 1.5 miles in total and took us about 1.5 hours. The terrain was fine and the paths accessible, albeit pretty muddy.
Designed for young kids, the interactive trail allows you to follow clues and search for signs as you try to find all of the characters from the books. There’s a number of markers along the way which give you an idea of the character you’re finding next. So, for example, you can look through cut out binoculars to see part of the character in the distance, or spin a wheel to find distinguishing features of the character. Toddler L enjoyed interacting with these signs and using her Gruffalo knowledge to identify the characters.
The best bit though was when you reached the footprint signs. There are five of these around the the trail which show the footprints of that character. When you see one of these, you can whip your phone out and use The Gruffalo Spotter app to interact with the sign. You point your phone at the footprint, and like magic, the characters appear using augmented reality technology. What’s more, you can stand behind the sign to become part of the action. It’s pretty cool.
We enjoyed doing The Gruffalo Spotters Trail and tracking down the different characters. Unfortunately, some thieving bastards had taken one or two of the signs which spoilt the trail a bit. I’m not sure why you’d want a four foot cutout of Fox’s tail, but each to their own. It got a bit busier as we approached the end, which slows things down a bit – particularly when you have to wait for the bratty kids in front of you to finish hogging everything. The walk takes you quite far from the cafe, toilets etc too, so make sure you have drinks, snacks, bog roll etc with you before you start.
All in all though, it’s a fun thing to do for a few hours and I reckon we’ll be heading back in the not too distant future should Toddler L have her way. Have you done The Gruffalo Spotters Trail yet at Wendover or any of the other locations? Let me know below!
Check out my other post on things to do with a toddler in Dacorum, Herts and Bucks.