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NEWS RELEASE No: 1672718 JUNE 2018

Buns, biscuits and fencing: Come to the Highway Rat Forest Feast Days

The Highway Rat

Families across England are invited into a forest near their home to celebrate the Highway Rat tour with a feast fit for the ratty rascal. Based on the children’s picture book written by Julia Donaldson and illustrated by Axel Scheffler, creators of The Gruffalo, the Highway Rat is a gluttonous character who likes to steal people’s food! Bring your buns and biscuits if you dare, and enjoy a great summer’s day out that will be jam-packed with Highway Rat-themed activities and the chance to meet your favourite baddie face-to-face!

This June and July, the Highway Rat will be riding through the nation’s forests and will visit 10 Forestry Commission England woodlands so that children and families can join him in a feast and get a photograph taken with the loveable rogue.

Learning some #HighwayRat swordplay is also on the menu, with a new and exciting partnership with British Fencing and Premier. Children and young families will love the opportunity to develop their fencing skills in a bookable programme of fun activities provided by Premier an “Official Delivery Partner in Primary Education” for British Fencing.

The tour kicked off at Moors Valley Country Park, Hampshire on 16 June and will take in all corners of England before finishing at Whinlatter Forest, Keswick on Saturday 28 July.

Bring your own picnic and Forestry Commission England will provide you with a free party pack full of ideas and games which you can download from

The ‘Forest Feast Pack’ includes blank invitations so visitors can invite their family and friends, recommended party games such as ‘Hide and Seek’ and ‘Stuck in the Mud’ as well as five different activity sheets to keep the children inspired during their time in the forest.

The Highway Rat trails can still be enjoyed in 21 forests across England until the end of the year.

Further details of trails and the Highway Rat forest feast party pack are available from


Images are available.

Notes to editor:

  1. Forestry Commission England manages the nation’s forests to maximise benefits for people, wildlife, and the economy. As custodians of the nation’s forests, we welcome over 226 million visits every year; offering close to 3,000 km of waymarked walks and trails, cycle routes and bridle paths that are open every day. On top of that, 99.9% of England’s population lives within an hour’s drive of accessible forests we manage and our network of visitor centres provides an unique opportunity to engage with the public.

  2. The Forestry Commission Discovery Pass gives free parking for the year for your local Forestry Commission Woodland, plus a range of other great discounts. Further information can be found at

  3. Magic Light Magic Light Pictures is an award winning brand-building company with a strong background in production, creating rich and imaginative experiences for families worldwide.

    The company directly manages production, licensing, global distribution and marketing. The company balances its brand-building work with film making of the highest quality – including Oscar-nominated animated feature Chico & Rita, comedy thriller Wild Target and natural history documentary One Life.

    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 180 broadcasters worldwide.  Magic Light also runs a cross-category international merchandising programme for The Gruffalo brand, with over 40 licensees and 350 products which capture the charm of the original books. Magic Light also produced Room on the Broom and Stick Man films – both have proved to be award winning half-hour classics that are as loved as The Gruffalo.

    In 2016 Magic Light produced two half-hours based on Roald Dahl’s Revolting Rhymes. They were watched by 9.3million viewers and have won numerous awards including a BAFTA for Best Animation.

    Magic Light’s film for Christmas 2017 was The Highway Rat, and was premiered on BBC One. /Follow on Twitter @MagicLightPics

  4. British Fencing British Fencing is the National Governing Body of the Olympic Sport of Fencing. For more information on British Fencing and the work that they do visit

  5. Premier - Premier are the UK’s leading provider of primary schools sport and physical education 

  6. Highway Rat Trails can be found at:
    Hamsterley Forest, County Durham
    Gisburn Forest, Lancashire
    Whinlatter Forest, Cumbria
    Grizedale Forest, Cumbria
    Kielder Water and Forest Park, Northumberland
    Wyre Forest, Worcestershire
    Haldon Forest Park, Exeter
    Beechenhurst, Forest of Dean
    Haughmond Hill, Shropshire
    Cardinham Woods, Cornwall
    Bedgebury National Pinetum and Forest, Kent
    High Lodge, Thetford Forest, Suffolk
    Jeskyns Community Woodland, Kent
    Wendover Woods, Buckinghamshire
    Thames Chase, London
    Fineshade Wood, Northamptonshire
    Hicks Lodge, Leicestershire
    Moors Valley Country Park, Dorset
    Alice Holt Forest, Surrey
    Dalby Forest, Yorkshire
    Guisborough Forest, Yorkshire

  7. Media Contact: Rebecca Ulewicz, Press Officer, Forestry Commission,, 0300 067 4073