A Family Guide to the Wendover Woods Gruffalo Trail
The Wendover Woods Gruffalo Trail is a genius idea! Using the much loved Gruffalo story to encourage kids to go on walks by placing their favourite Gruffalo characters along a trail to find works really well.
Even if they’re not fans of the Gruffalo, a woodland walk is a fun and free activity to do with the family, especially at Wendover Woods where there are lots of other fun things to keep the kids entertained.
If you’re heading to Wendover Woods especially for the Gruffalo Trail, here is a little helpful information so you get the most out of your visit.
Getting to Wendover Woods
Wendover Woods is located in Buckinghamshire not farm from the Prime Minister’s country estate, Chequers.
Address: Wendover Woods, Upper Icknield Way, Aston Clinton, Aylesbury, HP22 5NQ
It’s quite a long drive to the car par from the main entrance of the woods but we found that this helped build up the anticipation. Ask the kids to keep a look out for the Gruffalo as you drive through the deep dark woods.
Parking at Wendover Woods
The Wendover Woods car park is really quite large and they have completely overhauled it with new tarmac since the last time we visited so no more parking in muddy puddles. The system is based on electronic number plate recognition and you pay at the pay station before you leave. There are 25 accessible parking spaces.
£2.50 up to 2 hours
£4.80 up to 4 hours
£9 over 4 hours
The Wendover Woods Gruffalo Trail
The first thing you need to know about the Gruffalo Trail Wendover Woods is that it does not have 12 large wooden carved Gruffalo sculptures. We (the adults) did not know this the first time we visited and were slightly disappointed. We just want to get that out of the way before we carry on because this is not made very clear on the Forestry England website. The kids were not disappointed because luckily we hadn’t said anything to them about what to expect.
If you want to know about the other Gruffalo Trails around the UK, we have a complete Gruffalo Trail guide that explains which trails have the sculptures and which ones don’t.
The only large wooden sculpture is at the end of the trail. Along the trail, you will find large drawings of the Gruffalo characters and marker points like this.
The trail is a 2 km long loop through the woods. The starting point is behind the café area. You can just set off and walk the loop looking for the characters, but it is much more fun if you buy the Gruffalo Orienteering map for £1.50 and let the kids guide you. This is a great first step to help them to read maps.
Along the trail you will find 12 marker points (Gruffalo characters) with the twelth being the Gruffalo. At the end of the trail you will find the Gruffalo himself. A large, 8ft carved, wooden sculpture. But back to the trail.
The Wendover Woods Gruffalo Trail map is easy to follow. Our boys were 7 and 6 years old and had no problem guiding us. They thankfully haven’t inherited their mother’s map reading skills! On the back of the map, there are 12 questions to answer. Each one relates to the relevant marker.
The first half of the loop is along a path that winds through the forest and is a bit bumpy in parts with tree roots pushing their way above the surface. It also gets muddy in parts so it is not really suitable for prams, unless you have a great all-terrain one.
The second half of the loop is along a mixed use track which is used by cyclists and forest vehicles so you’ll need to make sure the kids don’t run ahead at this point. This is at marker 8 on the Gruffalo Orienteering map.
The Wendover Woods Gruffalo Trail should take around 45 minutes, but it didn’t with our two boys because they were always going off-piste. They liked to take little paths off the main trail into the woods to examine fungus growing out of tree stumps or exploring animal dens.
It took us about an hour, despite them running with excitement between some of the markers! And really, the excitement levels were high every time they spotted a marker which was lovely to see.
Of course, the pièce de résistence is the big man himself, the Gruffalo. He stands at the end of the trail near the café. If for any reason you don’t want to or can’t do the whole trail, you can just pop over and see him and grab a photo. We did see kids climbing on him when we got there but Forestry England politely ask that you don’t let you kids do this.
We love to the get kids out and about and they’re pretty good on family walks generally, but on days when they’re just not feeling it, these kind of trails are excellent to keep them motivated.
We did a similar one at Thetford Forest as well as a Shaun the Sheep Glow Trail using an app to find the augmented reality characters. THAT was cool! There used to be a Gruffalo one called the Gruffalo Spotters Trail and I believe this will be re-introduced soon. You can be kept up to date on the launch of this by signing up to Forestry England.
We highly recommend the Wendover Woods Gruffalo Trail if you are nearby. Remember that there are another 14 Gruffalo Trails like this one across the UK. If you don’t buy the map, it is a totally free thing to do (other than paying for parking) and the kids will love it.
If you’re looking for another free family day out nearby, why not try the Tring Natural History Museum? Or if you like sculpture trails, check out the sculpture trail at Broxbourne Woods in nearby Hertfordshire or Panshanger Park for more scenic walking trails, including some lovely bluebell woods in the spring.
Click here to see more bluebell woods in Hertfordshire.