The Gruffalo Spotters Trail at Alice Holt Forest

Two girls took a stroll through the deep dark wood.

The girls saw a sign for a trail that looked good.

“Gruffalo Spotters” the eldest one read;

“Follow the clues – there’s adventure ahead…

Have you got the app Mum? That’s good – let’s go!

We’re off on a hunt for the Gruffalo!”

 

Jessica and Sophie at the start of the Gruffalo Spotters trail in Alice Holt Forest

 

We last hunted for the Gruffalo at Alice Holt Forest back in 2014. This was our first trip back there since then and it has certainly changed a lot since then! There is now a new visitors centre, café and play area. The Gruffalo trail is also very different. Last time we were looking for cut-out animals from the Gruffalo story. This time we would be using an app and virtual reality to help us find them.

 

Jessica and Sophie looking at one of the interactive clues on the Gruffalo Spotters trail at Alice Holt forest

 

The first animal we were looking for was the Mouse. I loved the fact that there were interactive clues along the way, helping the girls to guess which animal it was that they were looking for.

 

Sophie looking through the binoculars to spot the animal

 

As we got nearer, we found some cut-out binoculars to help us spot the animal we were looking for. The girls had a quick look, but decided it was much more fun to pop their heads through instead and pose for a photo!

 

 

Jessica and Sophie poking their heads through the cut out for the binoculars

 

We soon spotted a big sign telling us that we had found the Mouse. Near the sign was a circle with mouse footprints on. When we focused in on the circle using the Gruffalo Spotter app, the Mouse appeared on the screen. The girls loved watching the initial animation showing the Mouse jumping on to a tree stump. After a few seconds, we could then take a photo using the app.

 

Jessica next to the "You've found Mouse" sign

 

A view of my photo with the app open showing the animation of the Mouse

 

Once the app had detected the circle, we were able to move the phone around to adjust our view of the Mouse as long as there was a clear view from the phone to the circle. This made it quite easy to try and take photos of the girls posing with the animals at each location. We did have a little wait at most of them though as there were quite a few families following the trail that morning.

 

Jessica and Sophie with the animated Mouse

 

The next animal to find was the Fox. We found the Gruffalo’s Child along the way and stopped to pose for a photo.

 

Jessica and Sophie with the Gruffalo's Child sculpture

 

Jessica, Sophie and hubby with the animated Fox

 

The next part of the trail took us near the den building area. Jessica and Sophie stopped to explore some of the dens. I loved the fact that there was also a den for wheelchair users. Jessica needs her buggy more and more on days out now and it’s made me much more aware of the importance of accessibility. My first thought now when taking both the girls out somewhere is whether it is accessible. If we can’t take Jessica’s buggy and there is a reasonable walk (more than half a mile) involved, then I can’t manage it by myself with the girls. We can explore a little further when hubby is around though. He can carry Jessica on his shoulders if needed, but as she gets bigger, this becomes harder to do.

 

Jessica and Sophie exploring one of the dens at Alice Holt forest

 

Jessica in her buggy with Sophie in the den built for wheelchair users

 

We had no problems getting around the trail with Jessica’s buggy. Alice Holt Forest also has a Changing Places disabled toilet. This isn’t something we need for Jessica but it’s good to see that Alice Holt does try to be accessible to all. If only more places were the same!

 

Once the girls had finished exploring the various dens, we continued with the trail to find the Owl. This was in a more shady spot and we had more difficulty making the app work as a result.

 

Me, Jessica and Sophie pulling silly faces with the animated Owl

 

There were lots of blackberries ripe for picking in the bushes along the trail which helped to keep the girls going! I don’t know if they were different types from those from Grandma’s garden or if it was the effect of the walk on our appetites, but they certainly tasted sweeter from those we’d picked earlier in the week from Grandma’s garden.

 

Sophie with two freshly picked blackberries

 

The next animal we found was Snake. The trail turned back on itself here which was a little confusing. We retraced our steps back to the Snake thinking we’d missed a sign – but no, we did have to go back on ourselves for a short way before the trail turned off again. Just the Gruffalo left to find now!

 

Jessica and Sophie with the animated Snake

 

We soon found the animated Gruffalo and his sculpture in the woods with Stick Man next to him. I’m not sure I’d want to meet a Stick Man of that size running around in the woods!

 

Jessica and Sophie with the animated Gruffalo

 

Jessica and Sophie with the Stick Man sculpture

 

Me, hubby, Jessica and Sophie with the Gruffalo sculpture

 

We finished off with a trip to the play area. There was plenty to do for the girls here. I was a little disappointed to see that there was only one item of play equipment that would have been suitable for wheelchair users though. Alice Holt had impressed me so far on the accessibility front but there are very few places with more than one accessible item of playground equipment. It would have been nice to see them go the extra mile on this front too. We are fortunate enough not to need it but there are so many other families who would appreciate this.

 

Jessica in the play area at Alice Holt forest

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

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28 Comments

  1. September 13, 2017 / 9:03 pm

    Oh this looks like great fun, I love your little rhyme at the start! My husband took the girls on a gruffalo trail that used the app when we were on holiday, they loved it too. Great that this is so accessible but I agree with you about the wheelchair friendly things at the park, I hadn’t even thought about it before but it is terrible to think that children in wheelchairs can’t play in the park.
    Nat.x

    • Louise
      September 16, 2017 / 8:05 pm

      Making more places accessible is so important – it’s something I’ve become so much more aware of now that Jessica needs the buggy more x

  2. September 14, 2017 / 5:13 pm

    Looks like you all had fun. I will have to give Gruffalo spotting ago soon as Finn would love it. He is also a massive fan of blackberries so very jealous that you found some!

    • Louise
      September 16, 2017 / 8:07 pm

      Thank you – it was fun 🙂

  3. September 16, 2017 / 6:30 am

    I think you did really well getting the app to work for the photos. I believe it can be a bit temperamental. I love the whole idea but do feel that actually seeing the model animals is more exciting to the children than the app to pose next to. That said the woods look an excellent facility and atleast the Grufffalo himself is in real life. Access sounds very good, lovely to see these great countryside spots becoming accessible for all.

    Thank you for sharing a lovely day out on #CountryKids

    • Louise
      September 16, 2017 / 8:16 pm

      I preferred the model animals too but it was good to see that there was plenty to do and see that didn’t require the app. It’s a fun idea but I’m glad that most of the girls’ enjoyment of the day out didn’t need a screen! 🙂

  4. September 16, 2017 / 8:35 am

    I love the ideas of these walks, it’s been on my bucket list for ages. Love the photos – looks like you had a great time 🙂 #countrykids

    • Louise
      September 16, 2017 / 8:17 pm

      They are good fun – my girls had a lovely time 🙂

  5. September 16, 2017 / 9:09 am

    Oh what fun, it looks like a great day out and I love the fact you can get pictures of you all with the virtual reality characters. Mich x #Countrykids

    • Louise
      September 16, 2017 / 8:19 pm

      Lots of fun and getting photos with each of the characters was fun – at least the girls also got to watch the animation before going to pose for a photo too 🙂

  6. September 16, 2017 / 12:23 pm

    That definitely sounds like an exciting trail, not to mention hi-tech! 🙂 Doing trails are a fab idea to get kids out and about, isn’t it? I wish we had more of these in Cornwall. Looks like the girls had a lovely exciting time 🙂 x #countrykids

    • Louise
      September 16, 2017 / 8:20 pm

      I love doing different trails – the girls always walk a bit further when they have things to look out for 🙂

  7. September 17, 2017 / 9:57 am

    The interactive gruffalo trails are so much fun aren’t they? We love picking wild blackberries too. I love forests that you can push a buggy around, means it’s accessible for a more interesting walk with little ones x
    #countrykids

    • Louise
      September 20, 2017 / 9:43 am

      Accessibility is a must for us these days. It’s good to see Alice Holt have made such an effort with it x

  8. September 18, 2017 / 8:18 pm

    I always think these trails are good, although I’m not so keen on apps however good. My phone I tend to use for a camera, and using an app as well, would mean it would die quite early.. We’ve not done one of the trains for a couple of years though #countrykids

    • Louise
      September 20, 2017 / 9:45 am

      I have to admit I prefer trails that you don’t need an app for too, although this one is fun and there is still lots to spot even without using the app.

  9. September 18, 2017 / 8:19 pm

    Still need to do a Gruffalo trail with the boys and this is looking great and relatively accessible from Kensington – an hour and a bit drive! Finding it though quite funny to do the trail with an app, that would be another premiere. Thanks for the inspiration! #countrykids

    • Louise
      September 20, 2017 / 9:46 am

      It is quite different doing the trail with the app although there’s still plenty to see without it 🙂

  10. September 20, 2017 / 5:43 am

    We’ve not done one of the trails since the app was introduced. It’s a nice addition but I do prefer the real sculptures. #countrykids

    • Louise
      September 20, 2017 / 9:47 am

      I do too, fortunately there are a few to spot at Alice Holt and still plenty to see without the app.

  11. September 20, 2017 / 8:35 am

    We went on a Gruffalo Hunt around Westonbirt Arboretum and had a great time. I think the app would be a lovely thing to use alongside these trails. #CountryKids

    • Louise
      September 20, 2017 / 9:48 am

      The app was lots of fun – the girls quite enjoyed the animations 🙂

  12. September 20, 2017 / 11:28 am

    It’s such a great thing to do isn’t it? We’ve done it in Delamere Forest and the New Forest, and it was great fun. We also went to Alice Holt forest over Christmas and the sculptures were still there but the trail wasn’t on – I particularly loved the stick man one! #CountryKids

    • Louise
      September 20, 2017 / 7:38 pm

      I don’t think this trail has been at Alice Holt all that long – I know I was hoping to go in the May half-term and it wasn’t there then. I love the different sculptures too 🙂

  13. September 20, 2017 / 12:18 pm

    This isn’t to far from me and we have a couple of big Gruffalo fans in this house so I definitely think we need to get a trip in #countrykids

    • Louise
      September 20, 2017 / 7:38 pm

      It’s a lovely place for a day out and the trail was lots of fun 🙂

  14. September 20, 2017 / 7:05 pm

    We did the Gruffalo Trail at Bolderwood in the New Forest and it was awesome! Love your spotter photos! We loved the fact finding pack too 🙂 Popping over from #CountryKids

    • Louise
      September 20, 2017 / 7:39 pm

      Glad you enjoyed the one in the New Forest. We didn’t realise there was a fact finding pack until we saw others with them when we were partway round. Maybe next time! 🙂

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