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NEWS RELEASE No: 1629626 JUNE 2014

Are you brave enough to meet the Gruffalo?

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Gruffalo forest tour Alice Holt

Celebrate The Gruffalo’s 15th birthday by joining him for a fabulous family day out this summer.

Families across England are invited into a deep dark wood near their home this summer to celebrate the 15th anniversary of The Gruffalo, with sculpture trails, birthday picnics and now The Great Gruffalo Forest Tour.

From July, The Gruffalo himself will tour 20 forests across the country so children and families can meet him and get a photograph taken with him in his native habitat.

The tour will kick off at Haldon Forest in Devon on Thursday 10 July and will take in all corners of England – Exeter, Kent, Suffolk, Cumbria and Northumberland, before finishing at Beechenhurst in the Forest of Dean on Tuesday 19 August.

The Great Gruffalo Forest Tour is the latest 15th anniversary initiative organised by Forestry Commission England and Magic Light Pictures. There are already 15 giant wooden sculptures of The Gruffalo hidden in selected forests across England for families to track down.

The 7ft tall sculptures have been individually-carved out of three-tone pieces of timber, each carefully-selected from Forestry Commission sites.

The Gruffalo activity trails can be found in 28 forests across England until the end of September.

For a great Gruffalo summer day out, families can also download an exciting party pack to make the most of their time in the forest, which includes official bunting, flags, party invitations, recipes like Gruffalo crumble and scrambled snake quiche, and a range of games including ‘pin the wart on The Gruffalo,’ and ‘what’s the time Gruffalo.’ The party pack can be downloaded for free from Forestry Commission England’s website

Michaela Barkaway and her son Oskar van Heerden, 4, visited the trail at Bedgebury Pinetum and Forest.

Michaela says:

“We had a wonderful day out in the forest doing the Gruffalo trails. Oskar is a huge fan of the characters and really enjoyed having the chance to visit the deep dark wood and see the amazing Gruffalo sculpture.

“The downloadable party pack and bunting made for a great family feel – our picnic felt like our own little festival! We can’t wait to come back to meet the Gruffalo himself.”

Details of trails and sculpture locations and information on how to sign up for the forest birthday picnic party pack are available from


Notes to editors:

The Great Gruffalo Forest Tour and trail locations:

The list below represents the locations of The Gruffalo activity trails, those marked with an asterisk are also home to one of the 7ft sculptures. The dates that appear next to each location refer to the days that The Great Gruffalo Forest Tour will visit that forest.
1. Haldon Forest Park, Exeter, Devon – Thursday 10 July*
2. Moors Valley Country Park – Friday 11 July*
3. Bedgebury National Pinetum and Forest, Kent – Saturday 12 July*
4. Delamere Forest, Cheshire – Monday 21 July*
5. Dalby Forest, Yorkshire – Tuesday 22 July*
6. Guisborough Forest, North Yorkshire – Wednesday 23 July
7. High Lodge, Thetford Forest, Suffolk – Friday 25 July*
8. Bolderwood, New Forest – New Forest Show 28-31 July
9. Hicks Lodge, Derbyshire – Saturday 2 August
10. Birches Valley Forest, Cannock Chase – Monday 4 August*
11. Top Lodge, Fineshade – Tuesday 5 August*
12. Salcey Forest, Northamptonshire – Wednesday 6 August
13. Wendover Woods, Buckinghamshire – Thursday 7 August*
14. Jeskyns, Gravesend, Kent – Friday 8 August
15. Grizedale Forest, Nr Hawkshead,  Cumbria – Tuesday 12 August
16. Whinlatter Forest, Nr Keswick, Cumbria – Thursday 14 August*
17. Kielder Water and Forest Park, Northumberland – Friday 15 August
18. Hamsterley Forest, Country Durham – Saturday 16 August*
19. Wyre Forest, Worcestershire – Monday 18 August*
20. Beechenhurst, Forest of Dean – Tuesday 19 August
21. Alice Holt Forest, Surrey*
22. Sherwood Pines, Nottinghamshire*
23. Cardinham Woods, Bodmin, Cornwall
24. Westonbirt, The National Arboretum, Gloucestershire*
25. Camping in the Forest site: Ashurst
26. Camping in the Forest site: Ocknell & Longbeech
27. Camping in the Forest site: Holmsley
28. Camping in the Forest site: Roundhill

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.