Wednesday 7 May 2014

Holiday time .... part 5... Essex ... Thorndon Country Park.... Gruffalo hunting

Some boys took a stroll through a deep dark wood .... no it's not déjà vu we went Gruffalo hunting again.

You may remember my post in April when we went to Sherwood Pines in search of the elusive Gruffalo, and very elusive he was too.... well we found out why ... he was still on holiday down south, in Thorndon Country Park to be exact.

   While researching my last post on the Internet I came across many fantastic reviews for Thorndon Country Parks Gruffalo trail but it was too far for us, that is until mum asked if I had any plans for our few days at hers.  I checked the address and discovered it was in Brentwood (I once went to guide camp near there) which is not too far at all from hers.   After the last disappointment I didn't tell the boys where we were going, that and the fact if the heavens opened it would be a write off but come the Saturday, having checked the weather which looked as if the worst we'd get were light showers we headed off, armed with welly boots.

The Gruffalo trail map was well worth the 50p cost to teach the boys simple map reading skills

We were advised the trail would take about an hour.... possibly it could be if you have normal children but mine were a bit pre-occupied with hunting the creatures out and virtually ran around the woods!!  This was not a problem tho as we had aimed to go out for lunch so had based the trip on one to one and a half hours.  You could easily stretch the day out by exploring the rest of the park and taking a picnic.
"All was quiet in the deep dark wood"

The trail starts with a squirrel before heading onto tell the story....

"The mouse found a nut
and the nut was good" 
"Come and have tea
in my treetop house" 

"his favourite food is scrambled snake"

"Come and have lunch in 
my underground house"

The statues are perfectly sized for children to cuddle, climb and play around, however the owl is different.  we all know owls live in trees and this owl is no different.  We commented how the tree was just perfect - it was naturally made to be Owls home.

The map has various activities to do along the route such as den building and listening for sounds.


We found the Gruffalo's child looking very lost clutching her stick man....

but what was that in the clearing ..... could it be??


His eyes are orange....

His tongue is black
He has purple prickles all over his back

Oh help! Oh no!   It's a Gruffalo!

We finished the trip playing king of the castle on the mounds and testing out our balancing on logs.


Other useful information

The Visitor Centre includes a shop, information boards and a small tea room it's open daily from 9.30am

There are toilets in a shed behind the visitor centre and a covered picnic area with plenty of picnic tables available.

Pay and display car park is £3 in the summer and £2.50 in the Winter which allows you to park as long as you like.  The North car park is the best to use for the Gruffalo Trail but parking is very limited.

Take welly boots ..... you'll be very glad you did!!!

Thorndon Country Park
Thorndon North
The Avenue
CM13 3RZ

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