The Gruffalo comes home to the deep dark wood in Gloucestershire to celebrate the 15th anniversary of the ever-green tale.
Themed activity trails, a giant wooden Gruffalo sculpture and a big birthday picnic amongst the trees are coming to Westonbirt, The National Arboretum.
Families in Gloucestershire, Wiltshire and beyond are invited into a deep dark wood near their home this year to celebrate The Gruffalo’s 15th anniversary with characters from the world-famous picture books.
From April, visitors can join Mouse on his adventure and explore Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler’s award-winning tale through an activity trail at Westonbirt Arboretum, which is cared for by the Forestry Commission.
The fun-packed partnership kicks off with The Gruffalo activity trail at Westonbirt, The National Arboretum and 27 other forests across England.
Westonbirt’s trail will run from 11 April – 31 July.
Characters from the stories will lead children through the trees with adventure and intrigue, learning about woods and forests as they go.
From June, a giant wooden sculpture of one of the world’s best-loved monsters himself will be hidden at Westonbirt.
Another 14 of the 7ft tall sculptures will be hidden in forests across England, for families to track down. The 15 Gruffalos will all be different and are currently being individually-carved in a secret woodland location out of three-ton pieces of timber, each carefully-selected from Forestry Commission sites.
Visitors are also invited to gather at Westonbirt with family and friends on Saturday 7 June to celebrate The Gruffalo’s anniversary with a big birthday forest picnic.
An exciting party pack of forest-inspired picnic ideas, activities and bunting is free to download this spring from the Forestry Commission’s website www.forestry.gov.uk/gruffalo.
Daryl Shute from Magic Light Pictures, the brand building and production company responsible for the award-winning animated Gruffalo films commented:
“The Gruffalo encourages followers to explore the real world with imagination, creativity and a true sense of adventure. With emphasis on learning and the great outdoors, Forestry Commission England is the perfect partner, and we’re delighted to be teaming up with them in this anniversary year to launch these exciting new series of trails across the country.
“The Gruffalo lives in the natural world so a local forest is the perfect place to set out with Mouse on his journey in search of these magnificent new wooden carvings of one of the nation’s favourite children’s picture book characters.”
Simon Hough, recreation manager for the Forestry Commission at Westonbirt, The National Arboretum commented:
“There is no better way to celebrate The Gruffalo than within the deep dark woods and forests that he calls home.
“The Gruffalo is a national treasure and so are our forests and this partnership will really help to bring the story to life and celebrate the anniversary in true Gruffalo style.
“All the activities have been carefully positioned at Forestry Commission sites across the country so you are never more than an hour away from a Gruffalo adventure and we can’t wait to kick-off the celebrations with The Gruffalo activity trails at Westonbirt.”
Details of trails and sculpture locations and the forest birthday picnic party pack are available from www.forestry.gov.uk/gruffalo.
Sign up online to find out more about the exciting year of forest celebrations.