Gruffalo Spotters is the latest incarnation of the much loved Forestry Commission Gruffalo Trails in 26 forests across the UK (check here to find your nearest one!) and this time features a fantastic app to bring the characters to life.
The closest forest to us with a Gruffalo Spotters Trail is Delamere Forest where we’ve completed the two previous Gruffalo Trails (The original Gruffalo Trail and Gruffalo Orienteering) so it was only right that we went there this weekend to try out the new Gruffalo Spotters app!
Mich and I had been checking the weather forecast fairly obsessively in the run up to our planned adventure, knowing this was our only chance to do the new Gruffalo Spotters Trail together before the summer holidays. Even right up till Saturday night it looked like we were going to be well and truly rained off however Sunday morning came round bright and sunny with only a mild threat of rain mid-afternoon. We decided to take our chances and packed up our picnic bags. What we hadn’t banked on was that we were going to rock up at Delamere Forest around about the same time as thousands of women running the Race for Life . . . right around the same track we were planning to walk! Luckily, after the initial surge of pink t shirts had swarmed past us we were relatively unaffected by the race thankfully.
The new Gruffalo Spotters Trail takes much the same path as the previous trails and covers just shy of two miles which is a perfectly doable walk for little ones. Despite the heavy rain during the week the path was dry and clean. It is a well trodden path through the forest and accessible by pushchair, though not completely flat so be prepared for some good uphill trudging at points.
The Gruffalo Spotters app is free and widely available from all the usual places – it’s advisable to download this before you arrive at the forest just in case you’ve got poor reception or don’t want to use up your data allowance!
All along the trail you will spot clues as to who the next character might be before coming across a sign to tell you who you have found. Nearby there are two footprint markers (these are both the same – it just saves you waiting too long when there are other families on the trail). Now this is the clever bit, pointing your phone’s camera at the footprint marker using the app brings the characters to life – a little sketch runs through for each character as though they are really there in front of you! Once you’ve watched the little animation you can hop into the scene and have your photo taken with the characters! Our little gang thought this was hilarious. We struggled to get a decent picture with the Gruffalo himself as he’s a fairly large character and we couldn’t get the kids to spread out enough around the space – in all honesty by this point they were quite tired and more than ready for a picnic lunch so patience was wearing thin!
I’d love to be able to share some of the pictures with you however we struggled to get them off my phone and then they just disappeared completely – which was a bit of a shame!
Thankfully, the original Gruffalo statue remains in his usual spot, towards the end of the trail, ready for photos!