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NEWS RELEASE No: 1625125 APRIL 2014

Get ready for The Gruffalo’s big birthday forest picnic!

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The Gruffalo - Welcome to our forests

Families across England are invited to gather in their local forest this summer to celebrate The Gruffalo’s 15th anniversary with a big birthday forest picnic.

On Saturday 7 June the Forestry Commission is inviting families to celebrate the popular character’s special year and host their own birthday party picnic at a deep dark wood near their home.

An exciting party pack of forest activities and Gruffalo inspired picnic ideas is free for those who have signed up to find out more at

The top five recipe ideas include a Gruffalo crumble, mouse droppings that taste very much like raisins, roast fox rolls, mouse’s favourite cheese sandwiches and scrambled snake quiche.

The party packs also include blank Gruffalo invitations so visitors can invite their family and friends, recommended party games such as ‘Pin the wart on the Gruffalo,’ and ‘What’s the time Mr Gruffalo,’ as well as five different activity sheets to keep children inspired during their time in the forest.

The big birthday picnic is part of a range of activities happening in forests across England this year.

The Gruffalo activity trails started earlier this month (April) and will run until September 2014. The trails show activities and crafts for families to try out on their walk around the woods as they explore Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler’s award-winning tale.

In time for the birthday picnic, 15 giant wooden sculptures of one of the world’s best loved monsters himself will be hidden in forests across England (one sculpture in each selected forest), for families to track down. Standing 7ft tall and all different, the Gruffalos are being individually carved in a secret woodland location out of three-ton pieces of timber, each carefully-selected from Forestry Commission sites. 

In October, The Gruffalo’s Child activity trails take over and will stay in forests right through the winter until February 2015.

Sign up online at to find out more about the exciting year of forest celebrations and to receive a free forest birthday picnic party pack (available from May).


For more information and high resolution images please contact:
Katrina Podlewska, Senior PR & Partnerships Officer, Forestry Commission on 0117 9066030 or email
Dani Marlborough at Spirit Public Relations on 0117 944 1415 or e-mail

Notes to editors:

1. The Forestry Commission is the government department responsible in England for protecting, expanding and promoting the sustainable management of woods and forests and increasing their value to society and the environment. Further information can be found at

2. Forestry Commission Discovery Passes vary in price from £20-£50 for annual membership. For more information visit

3. 2014 marks The Gruffalo’s 15th anniversary and The Gruffalo’s Child’s 10th anniversary and will see a range of celebratory events which are being driven by Magic Light Pictures. Starting in March, a national schools tour of Gruffalo themed days will take place in partnership with Film Nation; the Gruffalo birthday month at the Eden Project will be celebrated in May and Gruffalo films will be performed live with the Northern Sinfonia in October. The anniversary year also sees the launch of Gruffalo reading frames with Specsavers along with other new and exciting product ranges including luxury wooden toys from Bajo and anniversary publications from Macmillan's Children's Books.

4. About Magic Light Pictures
Magic Light Pictures is an award winning brand-building and production company, which creates rich and imaginative experiences for families worldwide. Magic Light is focussed on growing select family brands with strong stories, evergreen characters and products to cherish.  The company produces films, TV and games as well as directly managing licensing, global distribution and marketing.
As well as brand-building Magic Light produces widely – including Oscar-nominated, European Film Award winning feature Chico & Rita, comedy thriller Wild Target and natural history documentary One Life (one of the highest grossing independent UK films of 2011).
Magic Light’s key brand is The Gruffalo, from the best-selling picture books by author Julia Donaldson and illustrator Axel Scheffler.  Magic Light produced the Oscar and BAFTA-nominated half-hour animated films, The Gruffalo and The Gruffalo’s Child, and has sold them to over 80 broadcasters worldwide.  Magic Light also runs a cross-category international merchandising programme for The Gruffalo brand, with over 40 licensees and 250 products which capture the charm of the original books.
In 2012, Magic Light introduced its new brand, Room on the Broom – based on the best-selling book by Donaldson and Scheffler – with another award-winning half-hour animation and a growing range of merchandise. Room on the Broom won the 2013 Children’s BAFTA for animation.

5. About The Gruffalo
The Gruffalo is a fast growing classic brand based on the best selling books written by Julia Donaldson and illustrated by Axel Scheffler.  Magic Light Pictures produced two award winning half hour animated films (The Gruffalo and The Gruffalo’s Child) and has launched a very successful, high quality merchandising programme which builds on the heritage of this special and much loved property. 
First published in 1999 by Macmillan's Children's Books The Gruffalo has been described as a 'modern classic' (The Observer). Written by Julia Donaldson and illustrated by Axel Scheffler, the book has been translated into 52 different languages. A second book, The Gruffalo's Child, was published in 2004 and together they have sold over 10 million copies worldwide.
In 2009 Magic Light Pictures produced a half hour animated special based on The Gruffalo. First broadcast in the UK on BBC One, Christmas Day 2009, the film was seen by over 10m viewers, then nominated for both an Oscar® and BAFTA Film Award, and has gone on to win numerous international film awards including the Prix Jeunesse 2010. A companion film The Gruffalo's Child premiered on BBC One Christmas 2011 to 10m viewers.

6. Gruffalo activity trail locations
Gruffalo activity trails take place in the following locations. From June, one of 15 life-sized carvings of The Gruffalo will be placed at forests marked with *

• Alice Holt, Surrey*    
• Bedgebury National Pinetum & Forest, Kent*  
• Beechenhurst, Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire
• Cannock Chase, Staffordshire*
• Cardinham Woods, Bodmin
• Dalby Forest, Yorkshire* 
• Delamere Forest, Cheshire*
• Grizedale Forest, Cumbria
• Guisborough Forest,   
• Haldon Forest Park, Exeter*   
• Hamsterley Forest, Durham*    
• Hicks Lodge, Leicestershire    
• High Lodge, Thetford Forest, Suffolk*
• Jeskyns, Kent*
• Kielder Forest, Northumberland
• Moors Valley Country Park, Dorset*
• New Forest Bolderwood, Hampshire
• Salcey Forest, Northamptonshire 
• Sherwood Pines, Nottingham*
• Top Lodge, Fineshade woods, Northamptonshire* 
• Wendover Woods, Buckinghamshire*
• Westonbirt, Gloucestershire*    
• Whinlatter Forest, Cumbria*
• Wyre Forest, Shropshire*