A mouse took a stroll through the deep, dark wood…
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.
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?’
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.
“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 ;)
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.
“His eyes are orange, his tongue is black; He has purple prickles all over his back.”
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.
“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