FAMILIES across England are invited to gather in their local forest this summer to celebrate The Gruffalo’s 15th anniversary with a big birthday forest picnic.

On Saturday, June 7, the Forestry Commission is inviting families to celebrate the popular character’s special year and host their own birthday party picnic at a deep dark wood near their home.

Local participating sites include Alice Holt Forest and the New Forest. 

An exciting party pack of forest activities and Gruffalo inspired picnic ideas is free for those who have signed up to find out more at www.forestry.gov.uk/gruffalo.

The top five recipe ideas include a Gruffalo crumble, mouse droppings that taste very much like raisins, roast fox rolls, mouse’s favourite cheese sandwiches and scrambled snake quiche.

The party packs also include blank Gruffalo invitations so visitors can invite their family and friends, recommended party games such as ‘Pin the wart on the Gruffalo,’ and ‘What’s the time Mr Gruffalo,’ as well as five different activity sheets to keep children inspired during their time in the forest.

The big birthday picnic is part of a range of activities happening in forests across England this year.

The Gruffalo activity trails started this month and will run until September 2014. The trails show activities and crafts for families to try out on their walk around the woods as they explore Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler’s award-winning tale.

In time for the birthday picnic, 15 giant wooden sculptures of one of the world’s best loved monsters himself will be hidden in forests across England (one sculpture in each selected forest), for families to track down. A sculpture will be on show in Alice Holt. 

Standing 7ft tall and all different, the Gruffalos are being individually carved in a secret woodland location out of three-ton pieces of timber, each carefully-selected from Forestry Commission sites.

In October, The Gruffalo’s Child activity trails take over and will stay in forests right through the winter until February 2015.

Sign up online at www.forestry.gov.uk/gruffalo to find out more.