A couple of weekends ago, we headed to our local forestry commission, Birches Valley at Cannock Chase to spend an afternoon hunting for the Gruffalo. We love visiting the forest and try and visit as much as we can throughout the year so when we heard that there was a new trail with an interactive app we knew we should try it out.
Top tip: Download the free app before you get to the forest as there’s not much signal!
Olly has been reading the Gruffalo at pre-school so is really familiar with the the characters. He was really excited to go on the trail so we bought him the activity pack (which includes an evidence collection bag, 5 fact and activity cards, stickers of the Gruffalo characters, a special magnifying glass, ruler and a pencil! You can buy the activity pack from Go Ape or Birches Valley Café for just £3) and made our way into the forest.
It was a freezing afternoon (Mr Sunshine where are you? It’s May!) so we made our way speedily around the trail following the signs and looking for markers. We found our first marker and using the app on my iPhone we aimed the camera at the marker and watched the magic come alive. The app is absolutely fantastic and the graphics that unfold in front of you on the phone is amazing. Olly loved holding the phone, pointing it at the markers and taking 101 photographs.
We had a wonderful walk around the forest and managed to spot all the characters along the way to find the Gruffalo. Olly’s little face lit up when he saw the giant Gruffalo statue at the end of the trail (I think he must have forgotten we’ve seen him before) and it was so lovely for him to get so engaged in the app and spotting the wildlife along the way.
Top tip: Take plenty of change with you as the parking needs to be paid for. It’s £1.50 for an hour or £4 for all day.
The Gruffalo trail at Birches Valley is a brilliant way to have a low cost family fun day out. Pay the extra for car parking and stay all day like we did, take a picnic, walk the trail, say hello to the fairies at the fairy wood then let off any remaining steam on the wooden playground.
We haven’t been asked to post about our trip to the forest on our Gruffalo hunt but had a lovely afternoon there. We definitely would recommend visiting for an afternoon of family fun and adventure in Staffordshire.