I was leafing through this month’s Cornwall Today magazine when I spotted a notice about the Gruffalo Spotter Trail in Cardinham Woods, near Bodmin. The Forestry Commission has installed 26 of these trails in their managed forests nationwide. Luckily for us, one of them is in Cornwall. There is something about the Gruffalo story that enthralls children. My grandchildren just can’t get enough of it, so I knew we were going to have fun.
Now, the exciting thing for me was the Gruffalo Spotter App that you use alongside a very nicely put together paper tick box, drawing and spotting kit, together with mini binoculars that you can buy in Woods Cafe on site for £3.
The trail starts from the car park and is in the reverse direction from the Stick Man one we did last year. It follows the Lady Vale Trail, a circular hard path following a stream. It’s suitable for buggies and balance bikes, and took us about an hour and a half to complete.
The marker posts follow the appearance of the animals in the story, so you begin with the mouse and so on until you find the Gruffalo at the end. We found the mouse post and I fiddled around with the app. Once I pointed it at the mouse footprint, lo and behold, as if by magic, the mouse himself appeared on a video on my phone screen. I must admit I was beside myself with excitement as we watched him come and sit down on an invisible tree stump and chat to us. The piece de resistance was yet to come. At the end of the video, the photo button changes colour and you can take a picture of your child alongside the animal! Yes, really you can! Even though the child can’t see the animation, the photos are amazing.
We followed the trail, found all the creatures, watched them come to life and stuck our stickers on. Then we headed back to the lovely Woods Cafe for lunch. Allow half a day to make the most of it with under 5’s. Older children will have a whale of a time, discovering and exploring other trails or going off piste on their bikes.
Cardinham Woods is a great place for outdoor play, mostly quiet with plenty of parking (£5 all day), and the advantage of a cafe serving great coffee and food on site. There is a children’s playground and some wicked trees to climb, a stream to paddle in and logs to balance on. A great day out for me too – I’m proud to be a nan who has mastered downloading and using the app!
Cardinham Woods is just off the A30, near Bodmin and is approximately 30 minutes’ drive from Bosinver.
More child friendly days out in Cornwall
For more ideas for tried and tested child friendly days out in Cornwall, download our free ebook, Nanny Pat’s Adventures.