The first book he took a shine to was the one of the world’s best-loved monster, The Gruffalo. The book is an award-winning story of an encounter with a little brown mouse in the deep dark wood and since 1999 has continued to delight children and adults the world over. Jack included.
There could be numerous books out in front of him and without fail he always reaches for this one. I don’t know if it’s the illustrations or if he has a weird thing for big scary monsters but it’s his favourite.
Coincidently to celebrate the Gruffalo’s 15th anniversary fifteen lucky forests, including Cannock Chase Forest, have been joined by a giant wooden Gruffalo sculpture and a self led trail to find him. As we know Jack loves the Gruffalo story we saw this as a perfect day out for our little family.
The trail is a flat mile long walk or a shorter half mile loop and is great for all ages.
The Gruffalo Trail was great, there are a series of boards that encourage different activities for kids such as thinking about what different things are made of wood and making pictures out of twigs. There are lots of sculptures and statues along the way too from log benches, animal houses to wooden statues. The links to the Gruffalo are quite subtle though as you don’t meet a creature from the book on every turn but kids still excited by the various activities and finding the characters from the book. At the end of the trail lies the individual Gruffalo statue, each one being different from the other trails across the country.
I’m not sure Jack had the faintest idea what was going on but he seemed happy enough while we were there. Our friend’s kids had a ball, each one loving the adventure playground at the end too.
The trail in Cannock Chase starts from the Birches Valley Centre where there is a cafe and toilets. The parking does cost either £1 for an hour or £4 for all day which when you’re almost certain to spend longer than an hour there is quite expensive. But the trail itself is free so not an expensive day out at all unless you forget to eat breakfast and want to consume everything in sight in the cafe.
The cafe there was great allowing us to take the dogs inside. They had a great choice of drinks including many much needed caffeine based beverages (always welcomed) and freshly made food choices, they had a highchair for Jack too so we could feed him easily. The dogs thoroughly enjoyed eating every morsel he happened to drop.
The fresh air always does Jack some good, as soon as we started our drive home he was fast asleep sleeping the whole journey. All in all we had a great day out, there certainly aren’t many days out where you could potentially spend less than a tenner, get some exercise and see a beautiful forest all in one go.