For the first time ever, fourteen Forestry Commission forests across England will transform into the deep dark wood, with the installation of brand new Gruffalo’s friends  character sculptures.

As part of the ongoing relationship with Magic Light Pictures, Forestry Commission England is bringing the world-famous tale to life through sculptures of characters from The Gruffalo’s story.  Mouse, Fox, Owl, Snake, and Squirrel will join existing Gruffalo sculptures at Westonbirt, The National Arboretum from 16th September.

Wood used to create the sculptures includes timber taken from the renowned Old Man of Kent which was the country’s tallest tree, located at the Forestry Commission’s Bedgebury Pinetum. The Old Man had to be felled last year due to disease and wind damage, and has now been given a new lease of life, taking shape as the favourite characters from the book written by Julia Donaldson and illustrated by Axel Scheffler.

To celebrate launching Gruffalo’s friends at Westonbirt Arboretum on 16th September from 11am to 3.30pm visitors will have the chance to meet the Gruffalo character himself, enjoy Gruffalo stories and activities. Visitors will be able to seek out the story characters in the Old Arboretum and set their imaginations alight on their own Gruffalo adventure.

New activity sheets have been created to get children exploring the deep dark wood with activities that encourage them to find, feel, listen and spot wildlife in the forest.

Sarah Bruce, Forestry Commission said, “The Gruffalo is a fantastic forest themed family story which has been thoroughly enjoyed by our visitors. After the success of Gruffalo Spotters, it is great to be able to add another dimension to our Gruffalo story by installing these beautiful sculptures of the books’ characters which can be enjoyed for many years to come. We hope people have fun meeting them on their woodland adventure”

Alex Sanson, Magic Light Pictures said,“Our partnership with Forestry Commission has really gone from strength to strength since its launch in 2014. The addition of these new character sculptures will give families the chance to live out the story in the deep dark wood for years to come. We’re really pleased to see our forest partnership flourishing year on year and hope that lots more families will have a great time outdoors, discovering their local forest, and searching for the Gruffalo characters.”

All the sculptures have been created by master chainsaw carvers at Woodland Centre Ltd in West Sussex, and hand coloured with wood stain, before being installed in the forests.

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