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Stick Man trails bring forests to life this winter

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stick man

Forestry Commission England has teamed up with popular children’s character Stick Man to encourage children and families to get out into the forest this winter.

It has created a series of special adventure trails and activities inspired by the Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler character, designed to help children find out more about forests and the importance of wood and trees to their daily lives.

There are thirteen trails across the country where children will be able to hunt for clues, write poems, build dens, draw pictures and create their own Stick Man character.

It is the first time that the Forestry Commission has partnered with a major children’s character for a national campaign. The trails are part of a wider Forest Fairy Tales theme which aims to engage a whole generation of youngsters in imaginative outdoor play and reverse perceptions many parents have about their child’s interest in the world of make-believe.

A recent Forestry Commission survey* found that 90% of parents think children are losing their imaginations by the age of ten. The survey of 2,000 parents of school-age children also found that nearly three quarters think that today’s children play outdoors less than they did as children and half (51%) believe this directly influences how much imagination they have.

Rachel Giles, Learning Manager at the Forestry Commission, said:

“There is increasing evidence that children are not playing outdoors as much as they did ten or twenty years ago and this is a real concern for parents, who fear their children are losing their imaginations at an early age.

“We are launching the Stick Man trails to encourage children into the natural world by taking a favourite character that they might read indoors back out into the forest where he belongs.

“We hope our Stick Man Trails will inspire them to use the forest as their playground and create their own stories, all while learning vital skills that will aid them in their development.

“Trials of similar trails have proved extremely popular and we’re very excited to roll out the Stick Man trails nationally.”

To find out more and download free online activity sheets visit

*The results have been generated in a survey commissioned by the Forestry Commission of 2,000 parents of school-aged children.

Click here to view the full survey.


Notes to Editor

1. Media Contacts: Katrina Podlewska, or 0117 9066030 or Max Boon, Spirit Public Relations, or 0117 944 1415.

2. Stick Man events will take place from October 2013 until the end of January 2014 at:

Bedgebury National Pinetum and Forest, Kent
Wendover Woods, Buckinghamshire
High Lodge, Thetford Forest, Suffolk
Haldon Forest Park, Devon
The National Arboretum at Westonbirt, Gloucestershire
Wyre Forest, Worcestershire
Delamere Forest Park, Cheshire
Sherwood Pines Forest Park, Nottinghamshire
Birches Valley, Cannock, Staffordshire
Dalby Forest, North Yorkshire
Whinlatter Forest, Cumbria
Grizedale Forest, Lake District
Moors Valley Country Park and Forest, Dorset

3. Stick Man Activities
When taking part in the Stick Man trails, children will walk through the forest looking for clues to help them find a variety of forest activities. At each trail location, a panel will tell the children what their next activity will be. These include:
• Building a den
• Exploring tree patterns
• Spotting beautiful budding trees
• Listening to the sounds of the forest
• Building a stick tower
• Creating a Stick Man
• Trying to name everyday objects that are made from trees
• Drawing a picture of the forest
• Thinking of other uses for sticks
• Writing a story about a family day out

4. Stick Man Copyright Information
Text copyright © Julia Donaldson, 2008
Illustration copyright © Axel Scheffler, 2008
Reproduced with the permission of Alison Green Books
An imprint of Scholastic Ltd.
All rights reserved

5. A number of forests have permanent Fairy Tale themed attractions, including:

Dalby Forest, Yorkshire
Enchanted Wood
The Enchanted Wood is a magical adventure play area with a fort, storytelling seats and carved insects hiding in the trees.

Grizedale Forest, Cumbria
Clockwork Trees
Wind the magical keys in the forest and turn reality into a musical story. Sculpture by Greyworld.
Link -

Hide out in two miniature houses on the Ridding Wood Trail. It is said the forest monsters live in one house and the witch from Hansel and Gretel in the other! Can you spy them there? Sculptures by Paul Dodgson and children from Sandgate and Sandside Schools.

Grizedale Tran
The dark, still waters of Grizedale Tarn, could be home to the Frog Prince or maybe you'll find him at one of the others dotted across the forest like Juniper Tarn or the secretive Goosey Foot!
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Whinlatter Forest, Cumbria
Fairy Kingdom
Explore the Fairy Kingdom on the Wild Play Trail. Discover the troll bridge, wooden toadstools, the great wizard, magical fairy doors, a secret path and hidden carvings!
Link -

Kielder Forest and Water Park, Northumberland
'Robin's Hut and Freya's Hut' shelters on Lakeside Way.
These two huts are linked by the story of Freya and Robin, a tale of the two characters who live at opposite sides of the lake.
Link -

Silvis Capitus
Go inside the giant Forest Head that watches and listens to the nuances of the forest.
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Chopwell Wood, Durham
Venture along the easy access trail in Chopwell Wood in search of 10 carved wooden sculptures. Look out for the Woodland Spirit, forest Guardians, giant hands and more.
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Sherwood Pines, Nottinghamshire
Mushroom Village
Explore the giant mushrooms, move the sand around in buckets, build sandcastles and play on the slide.
Link -$file/Sherwood-Pines-walking-leaflet.pdf

Robin Hood’s Hideout
Journey deeper into the forest and discover Robin Hood’s hideout. Test your nerve and your climbing and balancing skills on this huge climbing frame complete with tree houses.

Fineshade Woods, Northants
Magical Play
Explore the magical oak leaf play area and hide in the witches hut. Then venture deeper into the woods to rule your kingdom from above.
Link -

Alice Holt, Surrey
Magical Play Area
Explore the giant’s play area and sit in the giant’s chair to tell a tale, or have fun hopping along the wooden mushrooms and climbing the giant owl and look-out tower.
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Alice Holt’s Ditches and Hollows
Look out for ditches, hollows and logs, all of which could be home to tiny fairies, pixies, goblins and all kinds of magical creatures.

The National Arboretum at Westonbirt, Gloucestershire
The Dark Dell
Find the Dark Dell a little off beaten track in the old arboretum at Westonbirt. Step through the wooden door frame to discover a little clearing of Yew trees. Explore this enchanting little woodland and make up your own tale.
Link -$FILE/kidsmap2012_lowres.pdf

Savernake Forest, Wiltshire
Fairies Hot Spots
Veteran oak trees with their nooks and crannies are perfect hiding spots for fairies and pixies, and Savernake Forest is filled with them! Can you see faces, eyes or gnarled noses in their trunks?
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Rendlesham, Suffolk
UFO Trail
Hunt for extraterrestrial beings on the UFO trail, explore the tree glade, or spin a magical tale in the play area. Use your imagination to spot water sprites by the pond.
Link -

Thames Chase, Essex
Mystical Sculptures and enchanting meadows
Take a trip to this lovely community woodland to discover mystical sculptures and create an enchanting fairy dance in the beautiful wildflower meadow.
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Bellever Forest, Devon
Fairy Tale Feature Fun
Explore Bellever Forest with fairy tales and magic in mind. Have a feast fit for a king on Bellever Tor, discover ancient burial cairns or look for signs of mystical creatures in the East Dart River.
Link –

Great Wood, Somerset
Great Wood Tree Glades
Use your imagination to turn pretty tree glades into fairy hideouts! Can you find a spot to build a fairy den? Collects twigs and moss to make the perfect water-tight shelter.
Link –