What we were greeted with was some lovely woodland (but we could get that in Sheffield without the associated travel costs) and a couple of play areas (again nothing we don't have) but ........... well read on and find out..........
We packed the rucksacks (preparing for anything April wanted to throw at us) and headed off on the 2 hour journey (£12 train fare so not too bad, except for the fact we were limited to travelling through Worksop - which we found to our detriment). We got to Worksop station and went to check the train out (as there is a distinct lack of information). After eventually getting the customer service mans attention - his mate in front of us was booking tickets for a future journey ( they knew each other by name), the adviser couldn't work the ticket machine and no one else existed. Another customer gave up and left due to the waiting times and 10 minutes later I had to interrupt with my quick question and was gruffly told "other side" before he continued his banter with his mate
The train pulled in and the signage said "this train terminates here" .... the next one was ours. Fortunately after the train had been sat in the station for 5 minutes I realised that it's destination had changed (the boards still told us not to board it) ..... when I asked the conductor she said yes it was our train.
As,Sherwood Pines is soo far out of Mansfield and even if you do get the bus it's quite a trek, we hopped in a taxi and (£13 lighter) arrived.
The lovely taxi driver showed us where to the the bus back from (conveniently next door to the pub) so when it was time to go we found it easily (£7 fare).
We popped into the rangers hut to pick up the Gruffalo Trail map (£2 from the cafe) .... thankfully the lovely rangers show it to us and we agreed it was not worth buying. Instead using common sense and the normal map to find our ways.
|The boys saw a Gruffalo trail .... and that looked good.
And so the boys followed the signposts on the Gruffalo Trail ... there was all sorts to do. Move like different animals, build dens, use natural materials to build a Gruffalo......
|The boys saw a fox.... and the fox looked good
We found a Fox and a Snake ...... This was however more luck (part of the wood already)
Silly old boys ........ don't you know ........... there's no such thing as a Gruffalo*............
|This is where he should be (behind the end trail sign)
|The boys took a stroll through the deep dark woods
We strayed off the Gruffalo path (which is very very very short) picking up some of the pink and white routes,
|On went the boys through the deep dark wood
Climbed over trunks and hid behind trees
|But now my tummy's beginning to rumble....
before settling by the pond for our picnic.
Then we went on a bit further exploring the different areas,
|off to hide in the log pile house
had a lovely time playing in the dens and little houses..........
....on the spiders web and in Mushroom Village
We found some fantastic things made out of wood - Chairs and faces carved into the trees.
|no sign of a treetop house
|our favourite food is orange ice cream
Before getting ice creams to keep us going on the mile and a bit walk to the bus stop.
So whilst Sherwood Pines is an amazing woodland and hopefully the Gruffalo trail will be fantastic when finished like at other sites, (fingers crossed we can find the money to go back in the Summer Holidays). From what the Rangers told us not all animals will be there on the 7th June and will be gradually added over the next 6 months so you may want to check in advance if you have a long journey like us and don't want disappointed children.
*after numerous complaints the Sherwood Pines website has now been updated to state that the Gruffalo etc is not arriving until 7th June - this information was sadly missing on Tuesday when we planned the trip.
What to expect when it is finished?
We had read soo many glowing reviews of other sites, disapointed becuase there was nowhere close to us with the Gruffalo experience that when I read Sherwood Pines had one we were all very excited.
Read some of these lovely reviews..... we are now hoping that Thorndon Country Park still has theirs when we visit Essex next week.
Mari's World - Thorndon County Park trail
Three Counties Mum - Thorndon Country Park trail
Twin Life Online - Moors Valley Country Park
and disapointing tales from:
Mums in the Know - Delamere Forest
Bubbablue and Me - Salcey Forest
Have you been on a hunt?? Let me know and I'll link you up.