the gruffalo trail

i’ve popped back and forth to essex a couple of times over the last few weeks. it’s strange seeing the place you grew up, once you’ve grown up is it. everything looks the same but smaller.

on my way home on one of these occasions i cut through the back roads through the woods, for old times sake, when i noticed a sign. it said the gruffalo trail. yes i remember being told about this by a friend and also a blogger, but had swiftly forgotten until that very moment. i came home i googled and prayed for sunshine or at the very least no rain at the weekend so that we could explore the woods of thorndon country park.

sunday came, the sky was clear, the sun was shining, we pulled out our boots and jumped in the car. we were on our way to the gruffalo trail.

the trail covers the six key characters from julia donaldsons book the gruffalo. each sculpture is carved perfectly to replicate the characters illustrated by axel scheffler. the trail takes around about an hour to walk, so not to taxing on little ones feet. there are acres of woods to explore if you want to extend you visit, or you could take a picnic perhaps or gather some branches and build a den like so many others had before us.

but first you must swing by the visitors centre and pick up a map for the mere price of fifty pence. then  you can start planning the route.

working out our routethe path into “the deep dark woods”the start of the gruffalo trail

we spied mother squirrel high in the trees, observing all what was happening around.mother squirrel“a mouse took a stroll in the deep dark woods”the mouse” a fox saw the mouse and the mouse looked good”the foxsilver birch“where are you going to, little brown mouse? come and have tea in my treetop house”the owl“scrambled snake! it’s time i hid! goodbye, little mouse” and away snake slidthe snakethe gruffalo’s child was also on the trail. he must have been looking for the big bad mouse

“the big bad mouse is terribly strong and his scaly tail is terribly long. his eyes are like pools of terrible fire and terrible whiskers are tougher than wire”the gruffalos childbut who is this, creature with terrible claws and terrible teeth in his terrible jaws? he has knobbly knees and turned out toes and, a poisonous wart at the end of his nose. his eyes are orange, his tongue is black: he has purple prickles all over his back.

“oh no help! oh no! it’s a gruffalo!”
the gruffalo


  1. January 12, 2014 / 23:23

    We loved our trip there. My daughter still tells everyone about it. We are planning on going back in the spring with a picnic as I bet as it is much more pleasant than on a cold muddy Autumn day

    • January 13, 2014 / 12:48

      i didn’t mind the mud to be honest, but yes thorndon is gorgeous in the summer. i used to live just down the road so know it really well x

  2. January 13, 2014 / 10:34

    Awesome! I’ll totally have a look now, if there’s anything like this near us. I know there’s a Stick Man trail not too far away x

    • January 13, 2014 / 12:49

      stick man you say? must look that one up straight away!

    • January 13, 2014 / 12:50

      i’m most excited to hear about the stick man trails, am searching for our closest one straight away!

  3. January 13, 2014 / 12:46

    Oh my gosh! Definitely on my list of places to go! Looks awesome 🙂 x

    • January 13, 2014 / 21:39

      it’s really really good slopping around in all the mud looking out for the gruffalo!

  4. January 13, 2014 / 14:21

    What a fab idea! My LG loves the Gruffalo and would have a fit of excitement at this! love it xx #whatsthestory

    • January 13, 2014 / 21:41

      it’s hard to imagine that anyone wouldn’t love the gruffalo such a lovely lovely story x

  5. January 13, 2014 / 17:38

    This looks like it was such good fun, nothing better than a good rummage in the forest. The characters look awesome, especially like The Gruffalo himself. Such a great book, never tire of reading it. We love Julia Donaldson. There’s a Stick Man trial too although not sure where/when it’s on. Great post, thank you for sharing with #whatsthestory

    • January 13, 2014 / 21:43

      a couple of people have mentioned the stick man, there’s one not so far from us only on until the end of the month though so we are trying to see if we can do it!

  6. January 13, 2014 / 18:08

    I don’t think we could ever tire of this fabulous story and it’s great that these trails and others like them (The Stick Man) are there for our children (and us) to enjoy. Thanks for linking up and sharing your adventure with Country Kids.

    • January 13, 2014 / 21:45

      we got home and watched both the gruffalo and the gruffalo’s child. oh and then again today… what have i done!

  7. January 13, 2014 / 19:54

    This is such a nice activity. i bet that during the summer is even better. thanks for linking up to the parenting #pinitparty

    • January 13, 2014 / 21:47

      thorndon is a lovely park, thick with trees, great for little minds to explore and investigate!

  8. January 13, 2014 / 20:04

    How amazing is that?! W would love it. Thanks so much for sharing with the Monday pin it party x

    • January 13, 2014 / 21:53

      i was really impressed with the sculptures, we were lucky and had great weather for this time of year. it meant was could slop aorund in the mud but not get wet! bonus!

  9. January 13, 2014 / 20:58

    What a cool trail. I’d love to do this one day soon with little z. We live way up North though so going to have to make a trip down for it sometime.

    • January 13, 2014 / 21:55

      the stickman is all over the place, i might show this to reserve manager of our local woods and see if he fancies looking into doing soemthing similar.

  10. January 14, 2014 / 11:27

    Oh, beautiful, didn’t know there was such thing! This is the great thing about connecting with so many mummy bloggers, one learns so much about people and places! #whatsthestory

  11. January 14, 2014 / 21:42

    I’ve heard good things about this trail. Awesome way to spark their imagination while out and about. My wee man would love it.

  12. January 15, 2014 / 08:59

    I have seen a lot of Gruffalo trails and walks and this looks, by far, the best one. I want to take the kiddies here 🙂 Great photos.

  13. January 16, 2014 / 23:02

    Oh this looks ace. I grew up near Colchester so not too far, when we’re next visiting my parents will definitely try to visit. Thanks so much for sharing. #countrykids

  14. January 20, 2014 / 19:39

    Lovely photos, so glad you enjoyed it. It looks like it was just as muddy as it was when I went! Still great fun though!

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