The Gruffalo Trail – Thorndon Park Essex


A mouse took a stroll through the deep, dark wood…

thorndon park essex

Thorndon Country Park in Brentwood, Essex is a beautiful wide open area with lots of woodland and trails to follow. We visited to follow one very special route, The Gruffalo Trail.

maps for gruffalo trail thorndon park essex

Your map will cost you 50p from the local visitor centre and the children armed with a map each and pointed in the right direction soon get the hang of the first notions of orienteering.

The woods are deep and dark and the perfect setting for Julia Donaldson’s classic tale which has been a favourite of ours for years now. I was determined to take the girls there before we moved out of this fairy tale period and on to the next stage.

“A Gruffalo? What’s a gruffalo?’

mouse on gruffalo trail

The trail is numbered and of course the voices of other visitors ahead on the trail are great prompts to the children, our little group did a lot of bossing each other about, ‘Listen up.’ and ‘Hold on a minute.’ were frequently heard but they managed to run ahead and find the statues by themselves. 

snake on gruffalo trail thorndon park essex

“Where are you going to, little brown mouse?
Come for a feast in my logpile house.”

The trail is quite short and even the smallest of the little people coped very well, even if he did trip over a root and land in the mud at one point. Top tip – don’t forget the wet wipes ;)

owl gruffalo trail thorndon park essex

The instantly recognisable characters, sculpted perfectly to Axel Scheffler’s original designs, are large and perfect for children to try and clamber on and have their photo taken, apart from the beautiful owl who is at the top of a tree looking down on you as you pass.

gruffalo purple prickles

“His eyes are orange, his tongue is black; He has purple prickles all over his back.”

gruffalos child thorndon park essex

You could make a day of it and after the short trail take a picnic onto the fields beyond with views as far as Canary Wharf. A perfect family day out in the midst of nature.

gruffalo Thorndon park Essex

“Well Gruffalo, ” said the mouse. “You see? Everyone is afraid of me!
But now my tummy’s beginning to rumble.
My favourite food is – gruffalo crumble!”


Park is open 9.30am  – 5pm
Pay and Display car park £2.20
Trail maps 50p
Tearoom and toilet facilities available.
Wellies a good idea as can get a bit muddy

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall


  1. says

    OMG wow how fantastic is that! It would be quite a drive for us to visit. I was only talking last night about making our own Gruffalo trail as we have the story every night! Thank you for sharing. Shall pin.

    • says

      Thanks for the pin, it’s one of our favourite stories too so you can imagine how happy they were to see the Gruffalo in ‘real life’ There are other Gruffalo trails in the country – it might be worth a search online?

  2. says

    How cool is this? What a fantastic idea to get little ones excited about going for a walk. Amy loves exploring the forest, but her slightly older cousin finds it really boring. A Gruffalo Trail would quickly change her mind x

  3. says

    I recognise that last picture as your SS. What a super trail and as you say perfect for the little ones, they looked like they had a great time following the trail and finding all the animals. Thanks for linking up and sharing your Gruffalo adventure with Country Kids.

    • says

      It’s almost too good to be true isn’t it? The children loved it and I think the story will stay in their minds a lot longer because of it. We read the tale once again when we returned home and they listened with renewed interest to a story they’ve been hearing for years

  4. says

    I’ve only just seen this! I grew up just down the road from. I hope I’m not too late to take Ronnie. Brentwood is much much more than just the only way is Essex!

  5. G Pardoe says

    A super place for both children and adults to visit.
    Just wish people would be more considerate to others
    by keeping their dogs on a lead.


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