Haldon Forset is set in 3,500 acres of woodland just 15 minutes from the city of Exeter. We are lucky enough not to live too far from the forest and have visited on a number of occasions but only twice with the children. I’ve wanted to take the children to walk the Gruffalo Trail for ages but haven’t seemed to manage it until now. The last time we visited Haldon Forest was back in the summer we went to walk the Stick Man Trail but went off course onto another trail, so I knew as soon as the Gruffalo Trail opened again this year we had to visit.
We chose to visit on a Sunday around lunch time, the car park was jam packed as you would expect on a weekend but we managed to find a spot. The children were very excited and so was I as I had heard good reports from other parents that had walked the trail, safe to say it did not disappoint.
There is an app you can download – The Gruffalo Spotter App – at home before you begin and I would highly recommend you do this, we did not download the app as I forgot (naughty mummy!) I was so annoyed with myself as I’ve seen some fantastic photos of the characters coming to life around you in the forest. We are planning to visit the park again during the Easter holidays when the weather is, hopefully, a bit warmer so I will make sure I download the app in plenty of time.
The trail is 1.5 miles in length and is a nice easy path to follow Amelie usually moans about her legs being tired but she didn’t mention this during our walk as she was too busy spotting wildlife and solving clues, I would say take your wellies though so you can really get involved with the kiddies. Along the trail there are lots of clues for the little ones to follow, Amelie and Charlie were very keen and excited to spot the next clue and solve the mystery. I took the buggy with us and had no problem pushing it along the path which makes it great for the whole family to enjoy. Amelie loved spotting the shelters made out of branches and leaves she kept saying she thinks Mouse lives there, bless her, I think she was expecting a real live mouse to appear and greet her.
The views are amazing from the top of the forest you can see the whole of Exeter, it is really pretty in the forest and somewhat calming. I loved being out in the fresh air somewhere new to walk I think it did the whole family good being outdoors and all together, it was lovely family time – no phones, laptops, tablets or TV – bliss!
When we found the Gruffalo sign both Amelie and Charlie were a bit scared as they thought he was going to jump out of the woods to scare them. They were very pleased to find a huge statue of the Gruffalo and couldn’t wait to have their photo taken. Again, with the app the whole experience would have been more magical but I think they enjoyed the trail just as it was. We also found Stick Man which was brilliant and he was huge!
The nice thing about Haldon Forset is there is a trail for everyone to enjoy, there is also a great play area for the little ones and we saw lots of dogs having a bounce around the woods, it is a great family day out I can’t wait to go back. Next time I think we may visit the café as it looked very inviting with the smell of a wood burner, hot coffee and snacks – what more could you want. I have raved about the Gruffalo Trail to all the mums in the playground and anyone else who I’ve spoken to, I think it is a fantastic place to visit, we all thoroughly enjoyed our day.