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Highway Rat costume in the forest

How to build your own cave den from The Highway Rat

In the story, Duck tricks the Highway Rat into a deep, dark cave and then rides away with all the food for her hungry friends. Can you build your own ‘cave’ in the forest? Follow this step by step guide.

1. Find a spot to build on

Find a good strong tree with a fairly flat spot around its base. Avoid anywhere that’s very soggy or rocky, close to deep water or near a road.

2. Use sturdy branches to create a ‘frame’

Collect half a dozen or more long, sturdy, fallen branches and lean them firmly against the trunk of the tree to create a wigwam shape. Make sure the angle is right so the branches don’t topple over. And don’t forget to leave your cave entrance!

3. Weave thinner branches to fill the gaps 

Gather lots of longer and thinner branches and twigs to weave through the larger ones. This will help to hold the frame in place and make your cave den darker inside.

4. Check your cave den is sturdy enough

Before letting anyone inside, give it a couple of prods and pushes to make certain it won’t fall down on your head. If it’s wobbly, you may need to do more weaving and ask an adult to look at it.

5. Test your cave for echoes

Can you hear an echo like the Highway Rat did..?

6. Take down your cave den carefully

Don’t forget to take your cave down when you’re done. This could be dangerous so take care. Do not go inside to do it. Drag the branches away carefully and take it down in the reverse order.

7. Send us your photos

We would love to see photos of your Highway Rat cave dens! Why don’t you share some to our Facebook page?


Last updated: 21st March 2018

England's Woods and Forests are cared for by Forest Enterprise England, an agency of the Forestry Commission.