With Stick Man currently on stage around the UK, and a BBC animation that has delighted families across the country, Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler’s popular story has taken over the Gruffalo‘s mantle and joined forces yet again with the Forestry Commission in encouraging kids to get out and about and explore local woodland and forests.
After all the Christmas excesses and being holed up indoors with daily torrential downpours, it was a welcome relief to put on the wellies and head out for a bracing walk. Much like the Gruffalo Trail – the Stick Man adventure trails are at several locations around the UK. There are also activity packs available for children (£3), including making their own Stick Man with a pipe cleaner.
The Stick Man Trail Alice Holt Forest
We headed to Alice Holt Forest, near Farnham in Surrey. Having previously been there for the Gruffalo Trail a few years back, we knew what to expect but were pleasantly surprised to note the subtle changes and different from our previous walk.
It was easy to follow the designated paths with well-positioned signs along the way, as well as several ‘stopping points’ for the children to look at. We learned how to make a nest and do paper bark rubbings amongst some of the activities. We even found several of the Stick Man characters nestled in the undergrowth.
But the best was yet to come. After walking along the trail and enjoying the crisp, cool air and actual sunshine – we came to a copse filled with numerous dens. A new addition which we hadn’t seen before. The kids didn’t even stop to wait for us – barricading themselves inside one and pretending it was a ship.
After finally convincing them it was time to move on, we carried on with our journey but not before the boys got seriously muddy, as the trail began to get very squelchy under foot – and Monkey’s clothes were now caked in dirt. But that’s the whole point of going for a walk, isn’t it? Where’s the fun in being clean?
We finally made it to the end, and were rewarded with a double treat. Not only the Stick Man himself but The Gruffalo, too. The boys wasted no time in trying to climb him…
With so many flashy attractions that are geared to entertaining children these days, it’s often the simplest days out that can be fun and educational. Small pleasures such as walking across a ‘crocodile’ infested river and on fallen tree trunks, jumping in muddle puddles and hiding behind trees. The forest can provide children with so much to fuel their imaginations – and the best thing of all, it doesn’t cost a penny.
To find your nearest Stick Man Trail visit the Forest Commission Website