Lock up your picnics because there’s a Rat Thief on the loose around England over the next few weeks!
The Highway Rat will be riding into ten different woodlands between now and 28 July as part of a Forest Feast event for families being run by the Forestry Commission.
The tale about a ravenous rodent bandit stealing food from other animals, based on the traditional poem The Highwayman, is the latest Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler book to be transformed into a themed trail by the organisation.
The accessible walks can be found at 21 locations around England and are free to enjoy, but you can buy a £3 activity pack to enhance your child’s engagement with the story and surroundings.
We tried out the trail at Dalby Forest in North Yorkshire recently and found it a charming way to spend a couple of hours.
Families attending the Forest Feasts can download an activity pack from the Forestry Commission website beforehand, which contains drawing activities, forest games, a cupcake recipe and flags to colour in and bring.
They are also encourage to bring a picnic and some sites are offering four to 12 year olds the chance to have a free fencing lesson. These should be booked online in advance.
The Highway Rat will be appear at the Forest Feast events on these dates:
Saturday 23 June – Jeskyns Community Woodland, Gravesend
Thursday 5 July – Beechenhurst, Gloucestershire
Saturday 7 July – High Lodge, Thetford Forest, Suffolk
Monday 9 July – Fineshade Wood, Northamptonshire
Tuesday 10 July – Hicks Lodge, Leicestershire
Saturday 21 July – Dalby Forest, Yorkshire
Tuesday 24 July – Wyre Forest, Worcestershire
Thursday 26 July – Haughmond Hill, Shropshire
Saturday 28 July – Whinlatter Forest, Cumbria
If you can’t make it, The Highway Rat trails will still be available to enjoy throughout the rest of 2018. Head to forestry.gov.uk/highwayrat to find out more and get free activities to do at home.
Read our review of Dalby Forest here and here are more book-themed family days out you might enjoy…
Follow The Jolly Postman trail at London’s Postal Museum
Step into the stories of Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler at Discover Story Centre
Can you find The Gruffalo at Mountain View Ranch near Cardiff?
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