the gruffalo is a big hit in this house, actually that’s an understatement as it’s a huge hit, very much in equal measures from young to
old older. what did catch me by surprise is that this year it’s the gruffalo’s 15th anniversary and the gruffalo’s child 10th anniversary, and to celebrate these landmarks the forestry commission are inviting families across the england into a deep dark wood near their home to celebrate.
from april through to the end of september, families can join mouse on his great adventure and explore the award-winning tale by julia donaldson and axel scheffler, through activity trails in 28 forests across england. from october the trails are then taken over by the gruffalo’s child which will stay in the forests right through the winter and until february 2015. children will be lead on an adventure through the trees by the characters from the stories, learning about woods and forests as they go.
on saturday 7th june families and friends are also invited into their local forests to celebrate with a big birthday forest picnic. a party pack will be availble to down load from the forestry comisions websites full of forest-inspired picnic ideas, activities, bunting and invitations.
an exciting addition to the above, from june, 15 giant wooden sculptures of the gruffalo will be hidden in 15 forests across england, in celebration of 15 years. families can then track these beautiful sculptures down.
the sculptures are the creation of neil brice, a park ranger at thorndon park where the first gruffalo trail was created. neil had developed quite a skill with his chain sew whilst working in the park and it dawned on him that maybe the trees that had fallen would make great sculptures. with no artistic training, neil began to carve the fallen trees and the results were simply stunning. you can read about the trail at thorndon park here.
a gruffalo sculptures stands a whopping 7ft tall and each and every one is different. the gruffalos for the 15th birthday celebrations are being individually carved in a secret woodland location out of three-ton pieces of timber, which have each been carefully selected from the below forestry commission sites and once carved and painted will be returned to hide for us to find.
– alice holt, surrey
– bedgebury national pinetum & forest, kent
– cannock chase, staffordshire
– dalby forest, yorkshire
– delamere forest, cheshire
– haldon forest park, exeter
– hamsterley forest, durham
– high lodge, thetford forest, suffolk
– moors valley country park, dorset
– sherwood pines, nottingham
– top lodge, fineshade woods, northamptonshire
– wendover woods, buckinghamshire
– westonbirt, gloucestershire
– whinlatter forest, cumbria
– wyre forest, shropshire
so what does this have to do with the HPMcQs you may well ask?
well we were invited to the top-secret location to meet with clayton ryderand, the sculpture of these wonderful creations and magic light pictures, the production company behind the award-winning animated gruffalo films. we saw the sculptures in various stages of production, from being carved right through to a painted finished piece. an exclusive preview before the big public reveal. squeeeeeaaaaaaaal, too exciting! of course i took far too many photos and when the children were invited to paint the sleeping gruffalo, i could not resist but to grab a paint brush myself and join in the fun!
inside the secret shed
carving & painting
neil was impressed with ronnie’s painting skills and offered him a job, and ronnie very shyly accepted
and then we made cakes!