You know what big fans we are of weekend adventures, but recently they’ve been taking a bit of a back seat. A combination of bad weather, business and tiredness has meant that we haven’t really spent a whole day out exploring for ages. By yesterday, we were absolutely itching to go and do something new, so we headed to Moors Valley country park near Ringwood, to do their new Gruffalo Spotters trail.
*If you like video, I filmed the day so make sure you scroll down to the bottom to watch our vlog!
The Gruffalo spotters trail has only been open since the 20th February and ever since we saw the preview video of the trail on Facebook a few weeks ago, we knew we would be making a trip to try it out as soon as we could! There are 26 forests around the country with a Gruffalo spotters trail so if you aren’t local to Moors Valley then I’m sure there will be one near you.
Before you go, you download the Gruffalo spotters app (avaliable on Apple, Android and Kindle), which uses clever augmented reality technology to bring the characters from the much loved story to life right in front of your eyes!
We started our trail at the gift shop where we picked up some Gruffalo spotters activity kits for £3 each. You don’t need to buy the activity kits to do the trail, and the kids were so excited just by the clues along the way and the app that we definitely could have got away without them. However, the activity cards inside had some great fun facts and ideas for things to do in the forest linked to the animals in the story.
The trail is really well marked and there isn’t too far to travel in between ‘clues’ which is especially brilliant when you have little legs with you that need sometimes need a bit of encouragement to keep going. The clue boards include things to spin and things to look through, so there’s a bit of excitement at every turn, but the main attraction are the ‘footprint boards’ where you can point your app to see the animals, straight from the page into the forest.
There are five to find, with the last one of course being the Gruffalo himself! We took our iPad so that I could film on my phone and I definitely recommend taking a tablet if you have one because the effect is even more impressive on a bigger screen (and make sure it’s fully charged!).
The girls loved seeing pictures of themselves with the different animals and Ernie thought it was hilarious watching a snake try to bite his sister’s head!
At each footprint board we had to wait behind at least one other family for our turn to use the app, and that’s where the activity cards really came into their own. We managed to distract the kids and keep them happy while we waited while doing some of the fun suggestions from the cards. We hunted for mouse food with the magnifying glass from their activity packs and we sniffed our way around the forest like a snake, smelling the tree trunks, mud and moss…
But by far their favourite activity was making this forest art of a fox.
Ernie’s favourite activity was splashing in puddles and squelching in mud, but at least he was dressed for the occasion in his Gruffalo waterproof suit.
Top tip: It’s muddy, wear wellies!
We did manage to get the buggy round but a sling or a carrier probably would have been a better option.
At the end of the trail at Moors Valley, there are huge wooden statues of the Guffalo and the Gruffalo’s child. These just topped off the day for my little Gruffalo spotters who rushed straight over to each of them to give them a cuddle.
Like most four year olds, Mabel can spot an ice cream kiosk from a mile away, so when we got to the end of the trail she was already well aware of what treats lay in store! Sadly for us, the ice cream kiosk didn’t take card, and we didn’t have any cash on us. But the kids weren’t too disappointed at all with these giant cakes that they got from the cafe instead, which were £3 each.
Parking cost us £6.20 for just under 4 hours, but it varies according the time of year you visit so do check the website. I noticed when we were there that weekday parking at the moment is only £1.50 for the whole day which I think is quite a bargain! There’s loads of other things to do at Moors Valley including a play trial and a park and a little train so you can easily spend a whole day there.
Here’s our video of our day Gruffalo spotting, I hope you enjoy! Have you spotted the Gruffalo in a forest near you?
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