I love doing themed trails through the woods with the children. We’ve done a few of the ones based on our favourite Julia Donaldson books over the years. It’s been a while since we last visited Wendover Woods though. I think our last visit was when we did the Stick Man trail. The latest trail follows the story of Zog – a dragon who is doing his best to win a golden star at dragon school.
We hadn’t planned on doing the trail that day – but hubby had a couple of errands to do in the nearby area which resulted in a spontaneous family day out. Unfortunately we didn’t have Sophie’s wellies in the car with us. Her sparkly shoes were perhaps not the most appropriate choice of footwear for the muddy paths through the wood. She was quite happy though and, as I kept reminding myself, children and clothes are all washable!
There are activity packs which go with the trail. These are available from the information point and cost £3 each. They contain a Zog mask, pencil, activity booklet, gold star stickers and a red-film reveal lens. It was the first time we’d bought the activity pack that went with one of these trails. We’d still enjoyed the trails without them but having it made the trail even more fun, and the reveal lens was essential for finding the animals hidden in some of the boards on the trail.
Sophie loved the Zog mask in the pack and wore it all the way round the trail.
“We’re going on a dragon hunt!
We’re going to catch a big one!
What a beautiful day!
We’re not scared!” Sophie chanted as we headed off into the woods to find all the dragons.
There is a new play trail at Wendover Woods and some of the route for the Zog trail passes points on the play trail. Hubby couldn’t resist climbing to the top of the climbing frame. Sophie wasn’t quite so sure about it though!
The trail follows a little of Zog’s journey through dragon school, as he learns the things that little dragons need to know. Along the way, there are five dragons to spot, animals to find on the animal reveal boards and other boards with activities and information about the forest, linked to the story. There are also activities in the activity booklet for each of these.
It’s interesting to see what a difference it makes now that Sophie is able to read some of the boards for herself and to do the activities with minimal help. It used to be me holding the sheet and ticking things off but now she does it all herself.
The paths were quite muddy in places. I think it would have been manageable with a buggy but much easier with Thomas snuggled up to me in the sling! There were also some steep slopes along the edges of the paths.
“Jessica would love to roll down those,” said Sophie.
Jessica did love rolling down hills. I think those slopes would have been a bit too steep for her though with too many trees to bump into along the way! But it was lovely to chat a little about Jessica, remembering those little things like the way she always loved to find a hill to roll down. She would have loved doing this trail too.
I thought that the route for the Zog trail might take us past the Gruffalo sculpture but it was in a different part of the woods. We didn’t have time to go and find it on this visit but maybe next time.
After we’d reached the end of the trail and found Zog, Sophie had fun exploring the play fort. She particularly liked the climbing wall at one side of it. It took her a little while to get to grips with using the rope to help pull herself up. She loved it so much that as soon as she reached the top, she ran straight back down to the bottom to do it all again!
It was lovely to have a spontaneous family day out even if we weren’t quite as well-prepared for muddy paths as usual! Sophie’s sparkly shoes were quite well caked in mud by the time we got back to the car but we managed to get the worst off before we left, and they cleaned up pretty well at home!
Visiting Wendover Woods – what you need to know:
Upper Icknield Way
Wendover Woods is open from 8am to 5pm every day apart from Christmas Day. For more information click here.