The Forestry Commission Highway Rat activity trails
Devon, Family days out

Where to find The Highway Rat activity trials around England

Did your children watch The Highway Rat on Christmas Day? The Tin Box girls were intrigued by this latest character of Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler to be brought to life on the big screen. I’m not sure if it was the thought of having their stocking treats snatched or the enticing look of the cake shop that captured their attention most. A couple of weekends ago we went off in search of the ‘beastly and bad’ rodent at our local Forestry Commission woods, Haldon Forest Park near Exeter in Devon. Here’s what you can expect during The Highway Rat activity trails:

The Forestry Commission Highway Rat activity trails

(c) The Forestry Commission, Crown Copyright

The Highway Rat activity trails

Following on from the Forestry Commission’s Gruffalo and Stickman events, they have now introduced Highway Rat activity trails at 22 forests around England. The route pretty must remains the same as before but the activities along the way have taken an all together more ratty feel. There are brass plates where you can take rubbings of the Highway Rat’s stash, woodland facts and challenges, and characters to spot from the story.

A brass plate at Haldon Forest Park, The Highway Rat activity trails

Haldon Forest’s trail is also dotted with large musical instruments made of natural materials, sweeping views of Exeter, and wooden sculptures for kids to climb in and on. It makes the one and a half mile walk pass in a flash for young ramblers. We completed it in about 45 minutes with Tot on her bike and Tin Box Baby in her toddler carrier. Poor Baby was quite under the weather that day but Tot was happy to reacquaint herself with some old friends at the end of the trail.

The Gruffalo at Haldon Forest

Tin Box Tot and Stickman at Haldon Forest

The Highway Rat activity trails are a great way to get kids outdoors and active even in the winter months. If you’d like to add to your experience you can purchase Highway Rat saddle packs from the Forestry Commission warden’s office. These cost £3 each and include a Highway Rat mask and other things to do along the trail.

Before heading home we warmed up with a hot chocolate and piece of cafe in the cafe. I think The Highway Rat would have approved.

Where else to find The Highway Rat activity trials

  • Hamsterley Forest, Durham
  • Gisburn Forest, Lancashire
  • Whinlatter Forest, Cumbria
  • Grizedale Forest, Cumbria
  • Kielder Water and Forest Park, Northumberland
  • Wyre Forest, Shropshire
  • Beechenhurst, Gloucestershire
  • Haughmond Hill, Shropshire
  • Cardinham Woods, Cornwall
  • Bedgebury National Pinteum and Forest, Kent
  • High Lodge, Thetford Forest, Suffolk
  • Jeskyns Community Woodland, Kent
  • Wendover Woods, Buckinghamshire
  • Thames Chase, Essex
  • Fineshade Wood, Northamptonshire
  • Hicks Lodge, Leicestershire
  • Moors Valley Country Park, Dorset
  • Alice Holt Forest, Surrey
  • Dalby Forest, Yorkshire
  • Guisborough Forest, Yorkshire
  • Westonbirt, The National Arboretum, Gloucestershire

Highway Rat Forest Feast Days

During the late spring and summer of 2018 you can also feast with the Highway Rat himself. Join in the picnics, fun and games happening at selected Forestry Commission sites around England.

For more information about the Forestry Commission’s Highway Rat activity trails see the website.

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Go in search of the beastly and bad Highway Rat at 22 Forestry Commission sites around England. It's a great outdoor activity for families whatever the weather #outdoors #outdoorfamily #TheHighwayRat #ForestryCommission #familytravelblog #England

Photo credit: Images of The Highway Rat courtesy of The Forestry Commission, Crown Copyright