The Gruffalo Spotters Trail at Westonbirt Arboretum

Being members of Westonbirt Arboretum, we are regular visitors there. We visited again last weekend in order to have a go at the Gruffalo Spotters Trail. Before we went, Rich downloaded the Gruffalo Spotter App. The idea is that you open up the app and point your phone at special markers on the trail. Then, the characters from The Gruffalo will appear on the screen.

At Westonbirt Arboretum, this trail goes through the newer Silk Wood. We don’t often venture into this part of the arboretum as dogs are allowed in this part and the girls are petrified of them. The girls were so excited about the trail, that we did our best to reassure them that they had nothing to worry about. Thankfully, there were very few dogs around on the trail so the girls were able to enjoy the activities available.

We did buy an activity pack for £3, but to be honest we didn’t really use it. There were several activities associated with each of the animals in the Gruffalo story. If your child knows the story, then guessing each animal is very easy. The girls really enjoyed it regardless!

Emily even faked surprise at the boards “revealing” each animal!

The boards that interacted with app were the highlight of the trail. Each of the characters appeared on the screen, and a screenshot was taken. This meant that the girls could have their photo taken with the characters. Of course, as the characters were virtual, watching Rich take a photo of the girls with them was far less exciting than the view through the phone’s screen.

These photo opportunities did create little bottlenecks along the trail, and I imagine at busier times it could be very frustrating for little ones having to wait in order to see the characters. The Gruffalo Spotters Trail is a lovely idea. It is a bit different to the previous trails, but at the same time I do feel a little bit sad about the idea of staring into screens whilst wondering through such beautiful surroundings.

It definitely did engage the kids though. Emily says she is scared of snakes – hence the fake “scared face” on the next picture. Therefore she absolutely refused to stand next to the board where the snake was going to appear on the app.

Because we don’t go into the Silk Wood on our usual visits, we also found some other interesting things within this part of the arboretum. Emily was fascinated by the totem pole. I couldn’t find anything about what it was supposed to represent, but Emily really wanted the little door to go somewhere.

We also found the Gruffalo’s Child! It seemed most appropriate for the Gruffalo Spotters trail to include her too. I’m not sure if the fact that, unlike the virtual characters, it was an actual statue caused Emily to be both excited and a little worried!

In other news, with our Easter trip to Coombe Mill fast approaching, I bought some new wellies. (Hush Fiona. I know that there is a perfectly well-stocked “borrow room” at Coombe Mill. I just fancied some nice new pretty wellies.) As is the case when you use social media and have new shoes, I took the obligatory photograph of my feet.

You may have noticed that there aren’t too many photos of Freyja from this trip. There was lots to enjoy about this trip, but we had to cut it shorter than we intended because of Freyja. For the most part of the trail she was in a foul mood. I’m not sure if it was because of her being tired, or the anxiety regarding the dogs or something else. We had a lot of stomping off, shouting and being told that we had ruined her day. I don’t want to show any photos of Freyja being stroppy in this post. Instead here’s a photo of Emily enjoying the Exploratree at the end of our walk.

Country Kids

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34 Responses

  1. karen says:

    How lovely. Children always love the Gruffalo and I always think this place looks lovely x
    karen recently posted…Kew Gardens, Perfect For Family Days OutMy Profile

  2. Clare M says:

    We have a new Gruffalo trail near us in Exeter at Haldon Forest – I reckon my 10 and 12 years olds would still enjoy finding the signs so I’ll have to give it a go. I agree it’s a shame it’s become linked to the phone – sign of the times, what was ever wrong with a pencil and a soggy map!

  3. I loved all the trails we’ve done based on the Julia Donaldson books so had been wondering what the new app would be like – love the photos although I agree that it’s nice to get outdoors and away from phones too. #countrykids
    Cathy (Mummytravels) recently posted…How reading sparked my love of travelMy Profile

  4. The Gruffalo trail looks great, our local one opens next week so we’re looking forward to trying out the app but I do agree it’s nice to appreciate being outdoors without phones etc. I think it’s a good way to entertain kids though, something a bit different from other trails.
    The Princess and The Pickle recently posted…A postcard from… Mottisfont, Hampshire (February 2017)My Profile

  5. Coombe Mill says:

    I love the idea of this new Gruffalo trail, it is such a fun idea, though seeing the real live models is still better in my mind. I wonder if that’s what Freyja thought too? Gorgeous photos of Emily though, I used to find if one was playing up the others would be extra good so show them up even more! I really must get out to a participating forest and have a look for myself, if only I had a little one to humour me too!

    Thank you for sharing your forest Gruffalo adventure with me on #CountryKids
    Coombe Mill recently posted…Country Kids 4th MarchMy Profile

    • stoppingattwo says:

      If there is one close to you, I can lend you a couple of little ones to take with you. And I know they would both behave like little angels if you were there!

  6. Hayley Smith says:

    I really want to give this a try, they are doing it a Delamere Forest near us but we haven’t been yet. I love the virtual photos and Emily’s face when she’s next to the Gruffalo is brilliant. We have very few photos of Lucas these days as more often than not he is in a strop, espeically is he sees me trying to take a photo, kids eh?! Looks like a great day anyway!

    • stoppingattwo says:

      I will look forward to seeing how you get on with the one at Delamere then. I am so relieved to hear that Lucas behaves like Freyja!

  7. We love Westonbirt and that Wizard sculpture is a favourite. We should have been trying out this app at Wendover today, but had to postpone. As much as I’m a tech dinosaur, I know my son will love the added dimension to the trail #CountryKids
    Mary @ Over 40 and a Mum to One recently posted…Project 365 2017 Week 9My Profile

    • stoppingattwo says:

      Westonbirt is one of my favourite places! Looking forward to reading how you got on with the trail at Wendover when you do it.

  8. This is great. Have been on a few Gruffalo trails but never with the app – will look out for this. Thanks for sharing #countrykids

  9. Emma Tustian says:

    I’ve only ever once been to Westonbirt and would love to go back. This trail looks really nice, although I’m not a fan of apps. They just take up room on my phone and waste battery! #countrykids

    • stoppingattwo says:

      Westonbirt is brilliant – love having membership as it means we can appreciate it as it changes throughout the year

  10. Claire says:

    I like the idea of this app and trail but still like the real sculptures more. Emily’s face next to the Gruffalo’s child is great. It’s always difficult when one child is having a strop.
    Claire recently posted…This blog has movedMy Profile

  11. What a lovely trip out. My Mum took my children to a Stick Man trail local to her and they all had a great time-even my 12 year old. I love the interactive app. Love the scared face photo! #countrykids
    Heidi @him_me_three recently posted…Sunday StrollingMy Profile

  12. Liz Burton says:

    [* Shield plugin marked this comment as “trash”. Reason: Failed GASP Bot Filter Test (comment token failure) *]
    We’ve just tried this at our local woods and totally loved it despite my daughter being probably too old for it!

    Sorry to hear Freya had a strop – I totally know how that feels! 🙂 #CountryKids

  13. All these trails popped up after we’d left the UK which is a shame as the kids all love the books and would have enjoyed them! Like the idea of the virtual character photos, that would definitely add interest for children 🙂 #countrykids
    Sara | mumturnedmom recently posted…Reflections: Week 8-9My Profile

  14. I love the sound of the new Gruffalo trails although I know what you mean about feeling sad that you’re viewing somewhere like this through a screen. It is such a wonderful way to bring the characters to life. Glad to hear Emily enjoyed it although sorry to hear that Freyja didn’t have such an enjoyable time. Love your new wellies! #countrykids

    • stoppingattwo says:

      Thank you! It is so rare that I buy any new clothes or shoes for myself that I can’t help getting a bit excited about my wellies!

  15. We are lovers of the gruffalo trails and have made the effort to do several but I’ve not seen one with an app! So wanting to try this out I will have to see if there is one local to us. I love the photos. Stopping by from #CountryKids
    Mudpie Fridays recently posted…Making Elephant Lanterns for WWF Earth HourMy Profile

  16. Lauren M says:

    Sounds like a great idea. Anything that gets families outside is a good thing in my book. I can’t wait to do things like this when Finn is a bit older #CountryKids
    Lauren M recently posted…Mother’s Day Gift Guide for Outdoor EnthusiastsMy Profile

  17. I love the idea of this new Gruffalo trail, I hope there is one near me. The totem pole looks very cool too, I love wood carvings! #countrykids
    chocolateandwineandillbefine recently posted…Knole ParkMy Profile

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