Gruffalo Trail: how many are there and is the Gruffalo Trail free?

The Gruffalo Trail is popular with kids...

Gruffalo Trail collage of images
(Image credit: Future)

The Gruffalo Trail is a brilliant choice for some outdoor family fun, and the good news is there are many across the UK.

When it comes to thinking of things to do with kids (opens in new tab) whether it's indoor activities (opens in new tab) or a family day out in London (opens in new tab), boosting mental wellbeing with physical activity is important. This activity could be a tennis class or running around a forest looking for the Gruffalo - either way exercise should be 60 minutes a day, according to Sport England

Mum-of-one, Jasmine tells us; "The Gruffalo Trail is always a winner with my two boys, it's just such a nice way to spend the day - regardless of weather. Even though it is all outdoors, just make sure you're dressed for it. It still tires them out."

On the trail, kids (opens in new tab) will meet Squirrel, Snake, Fox, Owl, Mouse, Gruffalo and the Gruffalo’s child across the Gruffalo Trails. There are also a wide variety of interactive activities and adventures as you go.

Gruffalo Trail

The Gruffalo is one of the most popular Julia Donaldson books and is set in a ‘deep dark wood’. So, the Forestry Commission jumped on this great opportunity to get our kids out and about for exercise (opens in new tab) in the fresh air with a Gruffalo trail - they can run, jump skip or bring their scooter or bike (opens in new tab) - just remember to pack a bottle or two of water (opens in new tab). It’s a mapped-out trail and you come across Gruffalo sculptures, or maybe large pictures of the Gruffalo characters to spot along the way. Each large, carved wooden Gruffalo sculpture is in a different pose. For example, the one at Wyre Forest is fast asleep. Though, not all of the trails have wooden sculptures of all of the Gruffalo characters. In place of wooden sculptures, there are large pictures of the Gruffalo characters. So you might want to check before you go to save any disappointment as this is not highlighted on the Forestry England website

How many are there and is the Gruffalo Trail free?

All of the 19 Gruffalo Trails across the UK are free, but if you drive to visit it you’re likely to pay for parking. From £6 up to £15 per day depending on where you go. In general, the trail should take 45 minutes, but with wobblers, toddlers, kids and off-roading it could take you a lot longer. There are 16 Gruffalo Trails across England, two in Wales, three in Northern Ireland and two in Scotland.

South West

1. Wyre Gruffalo Trail
Here you will find the Gruffalo and Gruffalo's Child sculptures. This free trail at Wyre Forest will keep the whole family entertained. Plus the forest has easy access trails for buggies and there's also an adventure play area to explore.

Location: Wyre Forest, Callow Hill, Bewdley, Gloucestershire, DY14 9XQ | Distance: 2km | Sculptures: Yes, a large wooden Gruffalo sculpture and pictures of all characters | Opening times: From 8am daily | Parking: 2 hours £3, all-day, £5 | Facilities: Play areas, bike hire, cafe and toilets

2. Westonbirt Arboretum Gruffalo Trail
There is plenty to keep the entire family entertained on a day out. Explore the natural play trails in the Old Arboretum and Silk Wood and the under-fives play area, Exploratree. Then download the free Gruffalo Spotters app and set off on the Gruffalo Trail. While all the other Gruffalo Trails are free there are entry fees for this one and you must pre-book a ticket. 

Location: Westonbirt Arboretum, Tetbury, Gloucestershire, GL8 8QS | Distance: 2km | Sculptures: Yes, a large wooden Gruffalo sculpture and pictures of all characters | Opening times: From 9am daily | Parking: no fees | Facilities: Play areas, treetop walkway, cafe and toilets | Entry fees: children (5-18 years old) - free, Adults £11 pp

Gruffalo Trail keeps two toddlers engaged

(Image credit: Stephanie Lowe)

3. Beechenhurst Gruffalo Trail
Follow the Gruffalo Spotters trail in the heart of the Forest of Dean, one of Britain's oldest and largest woodlands. Spot the signs with the amazing new Gruffalo Spotter 2 app, fun activity pack and trail. Plus you get to interact with all your favourite characters as you go in search of the Gruffalo in the deep dark wood.

Location: Beechenhurst, Speech House Road, Coleford, GL16 7EL | Distance: 2km | Sculptures: Yes, a large wooden Gruffalo sculpture and pictures of all characters | Opening times: From 0830am daily | Parking: All-day £7 | Facilities: Play area, cafe and toilets

South East

4. Wendover Gruffalo Trail
Enjoy one of the many trails at Wendover Woods either on foot, bicycle, buggy, or horse to explore the highest hill in the Chilterns. You’ll get amazing views, and you might stumble across owl and his treetop house on the free Gruffalo Trail.

Location: Wendover Woods, Upper Icknield Way, Aston Clinton, Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, HP22 5NQ | Distance: 2km | Sculptures: Yes, large wooden Gruffalo sculpture and pictures of all characters | Opening times: From 8am daily | Parking: 2 hours £2.50, over 4 hours £9 | Facilities: Play area, play trail loop, cafe and toilets

5. Moors Valley Grufallo Trail
Enjoy the play areas, train and treetop adventure at Moors Valley Country Park and Forest in Hampshire. Then head out on the Gruffalo Trail and spot the mouse, owl, snake and fox … and the Gruffalo.

Location: Moors Valley Country Park and Forest, Horton Road, Ashley Heath, Nr Ringwood, Hampshire, BH24 2ET | Distance: 2km | Sculptures: Yes, large wooden Gruffalo and Gruffalos Child sculpture | Opening times: From 8am daily | Parking: 2 hours £8, all-day £15 | Facilities: Play areas,steam train, segway, cafe and toilets

6. Bedgebury Gruffalo Trail
The Gruffalo Trail at Bedgebury National Pinetum and Forest is amazing and will keep the whole family engaged. And, after spotting all of your favourite characters head into the woodland and find the native village, mighty tree house and the butterfly climbing wall.

Location: Bedgebury National Pinetum and Forest, Lady Oak Lane, Goudhurst, TN17 2SJ | Distance: 3.5km | Sculptures: Yes, there are six large wooden sculptures | Opening times: From 8am daily | Parking: All-day (peak) £13, all-day (off-peak) £10 | Facilities: Play areas, bike shop, bike hire, cafe and toilets

7. Alice Holt Gruffalo Trail
With easy access paths, you can take your buggies on The Gruffalo Trail with ease. Look out for the giant Gruffalo and Stick Man statues, along with the Gruffalo Child. And when you’ve finished the free Gruffalo Trail, head back to one of two adventure parks or try the Go Ape tree top adventure.

Location: Alice Holt, Bucks Horn Oak, Farnham, Surrey, GU10 4LS | Distance: 2.7km | Sculptures: Yes, large wooden sculptures of all characters | Opening times: From 8am daily | Parking: 2 hours £5, all day £12 | Facilities: Play areas, timberline play trail, cafe and toilets

Gruffalo Trail with forts and dens with kids sat in them

(Image credit: Stephanie Lowe)

Midlands

8. Fineshade Gruffalo Trail
Take a trip into the deep, dark, wood and explore this brilliant Gruffalo Trail. And also lose time in the Tree House play area which also has a toddler playground – something for the whole family.

Location: Fineshade Wood, Corby, Northants, NN17 3BB | Distance: 1.5km | Sculptures: Yes, one large Gruffalo and character pictures | Opening times: From 9am daily | Parking: 2 hours £3.50 all-day £5.50 | Facilities: Play areas, bike shop, bike hire, cafe and toilets

9. Salcey Forest Gruffalo Trail
Salcey Forest was a medieval royal hunting forest and reminders of the past can still be found, with miles of ancient woodbanks, building remains and ancient trees. And deep in the woods is the Gruffalo Trail … can you spot the Gruffalo markers? There are five different footprint markers in the woods. Downloaded the ‘Gruffalo Spotters App’ on your phone before you go, you’ll get clues to where they are. When you see one, you point your phone at the marker and then the character will appear on your phone. You can then take a picture of your child with the character.

Location: Salcey Forest, Quinton, Northamptonshire, NN7 2HX | Distance: 2km | Sculptures: Yes, one large Gruffalo | Opening times: From 8am daily | Parking: 2 hours £1.70 all-day £4 | Facilities: Play areas, bike hire, cafe and toilets

10. Sherwood Pines Gruffalo Trail
The Gruffal-OH can be found as you explore the free trail app in the beautiful grounds of Sherwood Pines forest. There's also plenty for kids to enjoy – from a play area to safe and easy-to-use cycle paths.

Location: Sherwood Pines, Kings Clipstone, Nottingham, NG21 9JL | Distance: 3km | Sculptures: Yes, one large Gruffalo and character pictures | Opening times: From 8am daily | Parking: 2 hours £4, all-day £6 | Facilities: Play areas, bike shop, bike hire, cafe and toilets

11. Hicks Lodge Gruffalo Trail
Hicks Lodge is a great day out for families. Set off on the Gruffalo Trail with your kids – download the free Gruffalo Spotters app first to bring all the characters to life. Then try the play area, cycle and walking tracks or just have a nice cup of (Gruffalo?!) tea in the cafe.

Location: Hicks Lodge, Ashby-de-la-Zouch, Swadlincote, LE65 2UP | Distance: 2km | Sculptures: Yes, one large Gruffalo | Opening times: From 8am daily | Parking: 2 hours £1.70 all-day £4 | Facilities: Play areas, bike hire, bird hide, wildlife hide, cafe and toilets

12. Cannock Chase Gruffalo Trail
Cannock Chase is a great place for a day out with the whole family. Kids will love exploring the huge expanse of woodland, plus there is a large play area. 

Dad-of-two, Alan tells us: "The Gruffalo Spotter 2 App made my kids' day! They love technology, so being able to lure them outside with the help of an app is a win in my book! They loved the augmented reality and being able to have a 'picture' with the Gruffalo."

Location: Cannock Chase Forest, Rugeley, Staffordshire, WS15 2UQ | Distance: 1.5km | Sculptures: Yes, one large Gruffalo and character pictures | Opening times: From 0730am daily | Parking: 2 hours £4, all day £6 | Facilities: Play areas, bike shop, bike hire, cafe and toilets

Gruffalo Trail on a phone app held by a man

(Image credit: Visit Staffordshire)

East Anglia

13. Thetford Forest Gruffalo Trail
High Lodge at Thetford Forest is a great day out for all the family. You can hire bikes to explore the forest, try out the giant play sculpture trail or venture in to the squirrel's maze - one of the largest in Europe. And don’t leave before doing the free Gruffalo Trail, deep in the dark wood.

Location: Thetford Forest, Brandon, Suffolk, IP27 0AF| Distance: 1.5km | Sculptures: Yes, one large Gruffalo and character pictures | Opening times: From 9am daily | Parking: 2 hours £5, all day £12.50| Facilities: Play areas, Go Ape, orienteering, Walking trails, cycle trails, bike hire, cafe and toilets

North West

14. Whinlatter Gruffalo Trail
See who can spot all the characters on this Gruffalo Trail, then explore the rest of the forest. While you’re here, try the Whinlatter WildPlay trail, it’s free to use and suitable for over-fives. It has lots of different play zones along its course, including a fairy kingdom, climbing wall, water play, and giant timber play features.

Location: Whinlatter Forest, Whinlatter Pass, Keswick, Cumbria, CA12 5TW | Distance: 1.5km | Sculptures: Yes, one large Gruffalo and character pictures | Opening times: From 0830am daily | Parking: 2 hours £2.20, all-day £8 | Facilities: Play areas, wild play trail, cafe and toilets

15. Grizedale Forest Gruffalo Trail
Internationally renowned for its forest sculpture, Grizedale Forest is a great day out for everyone. There's an adventure playground and, of course, a brilliant Gruffalo Trail. Look out for the purple prickles all over the Gruffalo's back.

Location: Grizedale Forest, Hawkshead, Cumbria, LA22 0QJ | Distance: 1.5km | Sculptures: Yes, one large Gruffalo and character pictures | Opening times: From 07.30am daily | Parking: all-day £8 | Facilities: Play areas, art exhibition, 10 walking trails, 9 cycle trails, Go Ape, Segway, cafe and toilets

Treetop walkway

(Image credit: Forestry England)

16. Delamere Forest
With or without the Gruffalo trail, Delamere Forest is a brilliant place for a day out with your kids. Try the colour-coded trails on foot or on bikes and then try the Gruffalo Trail. Download the free Gruffalo Spotters app before you start, and see all the characters spring to life.

Location: Delamere Forest, Linmere, Delamere, Northwich, CW8 2HZ | Distance: 3km | Sculptures: Yes, one large Gruffalo and character pictures | Opening times: From 8am daily | Parking: 3 hours £4, all-day £6 | Facilities: Bike shop, bike hire, Segways, cafe and toilets

North East

17. Hamsterley Forest Gruffalo Trail
With a play park, waymarked walks, bike hire, cycle routes and horse riding trails there’s so much to do at Hamsterley Forest. And the highlight? The free Gruffalo Trail which is sure to keep your kids entertained as they find all their favourite characters.

Location: Hamsterley Forest, Bedburn, Hamsterley, Co Durham, DL13 3NL | Distance: 2km | Sculptures: Yes, one large Gruffalo and character pictures | Opening times: From 9am daily | Parking: All-day £6 | Facilities: Play areas, cafe and toilets

18. Kielder Forest Gruffalo Trail
Kielder Forest Castle was built in 1775, breathe in history as you enjoy walks and a children’s play area before downloading the free trail app and exploring the free Gruffalo Trail.

Location: Kielder Water and Forest Park, Kielder, Northumberland, NE48 1ER | Distance: 2km | Sculptures: Yes, one large Gruffalo and character pictures | Opening times: From 9am daily | Parking: All-day £5 | Facilities: Play areas, cafe and toilets

19. Dalby Gruffalo Trail
There's so much to do at Dalby Forest – from bike rides and an adventure play area through to the free Gruffalo Trail.

Location: Dalby Forest, Low Dalby, Thornton-Le-Dale, Pickering, Yorkshire, YO18 7LT | Distance: 3km | Sculptures: Yes, one large Gruffalo and character pictures | Opening times: From 8am daily (except Christmas and Boxing Days) | Parking: All-day (peak) £9, all-day (off-peak) £5 | Facilities: Play areas, bike shop, bike hire, cafe and toilets

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Stephanie Lowe
Stephanie Lowe

Stephanie Lowe is Family Editor at GoodTo covering all things parenting, pregnancy and more. She has over 13 years' experience as a digital journalist with a wealth of knowledge and experience when it comes to all things family and lifestyle. Stephanie lives in Kent with her husband and son, Ted. With his love of choo-choos, Hey Duggee and finger painting he keeps her on her toes.