Yesterday, we went to Dalby Forest for a family day out. I can report we had a wonderful time!
On arrival, we decided we would do the Zog Trail first. This trail is in the same place as the Gruffalo and The Highway Rat before it. The Highway Rat has been completely removed, whereas the Gruffalo is now at Adderstone Field (albeit without the animation).
The Zog Trail is perfect for getting kids going on bikes and good for pushchairs, albeit a bit bumpy for scooters. Eliza has just got going without stabilisers and she was a bit nervous at the beginning but by the end she was flying along, it is a real confidence giver. Not only that, doing it together with the Zog Trail, meant she was encouraged to stop at the various signs to undertake the next step / activity.
We thoroughly enjoyed Zog at Christmas and were thrilled when Dalby Forest announced he was coming…. We enjoyed the trail. Eliza is 4 and Henry 6 so they could do it together, with Henry reading the instructions etc. It is great for getting the kids into the outdoors and giving you a reason to go for a walk. It is very interesting and educational about the forest / nature. We had a game of pooh sticks on the way and there is a lovely clearing where you can pause for a snack. Watch out for the dragons in the trees – Eliza was genuinely very excited when she spotted these! If you have already done The Highway Rat and the Gruffalo before it, yes it is the same route but enjoyable none the less. Zog encourages more conversation about wildlife, nature and the outdoors. When walking or biking with kids, sometimes it is handy for them to have focus and Zog gives just that. I feel we were spoilt with the animation of the Gruffalo Trail so it shouldn’t be compared. Both children enjoyed the activity pack and finished it off over lunch.
Having enjoyed Zog, we returned to the Visitor Centre to eat our packed lunch in the playground, joined by a lovely selection of birds including a Robin, Blue Tit and Chaffinch. It gave us chance for a cup of tea too! Given it is the RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch, they had a stall with the opportunity to learn more about birds and to make an apple birdfeeder for your garden – the kids loved this and both are now in pride of place in our garden.
We returned to Dalby Forest Cycle Hub for some bikes to go on a family bike ride. They have cool trailers for toddlers. Eliza was a bit reluctant to get in, having really enjoyed her “big girl” bike ride earlier. However, once in and going, she loved it! We went back on the extended Ellerburn Trail and even stopped at the Skills Area for Henry to test some skills. The whole ride took about an hour and we all loved it. We did a deal with Eliza that she could have another bike ride before we went home, so we popped up to Adderstone Field. There is another green trail up (Adderstone Cycle Trail) there which we will do another day (it has a recommended time of 2 hours). This time, we let her cycle across the field to the Enchanted Wood. We could have spent so much more time up there but it was getting dark…
We had a lovely family day and were lucky with the weather. If you are teaching your little one to ride a bike or develop their skills, Dalby Forest is a great place for this. Not only this, there are some great playgrounds to run off steam as well as lovely activity packs to give you direction and learn about the natural environment. The James and the Giant Peach activity pack is great for 6 years plus in my opinion, and can be used over a number of trips. It is really informative and has some great activities. You can also hire the Ranger in a Bag specific activity packs from the Visitor Centre. These resource backpacks provide all you need to run your own successful educational visit in the forest.
Dalby Forest is also a great place to bring kids for a birthday, as you can do your own BBQs (weather permitting), especially up near Staindale Lake in summer. There is loads to do over a huge area for all ages and abilities.
This is an advertorial review and for the purpose of writing this, we received one Zog and one James and the Giant Peach Activity pack as well as bikes for Henry, my husband and myself plus a trailer for Eliza to sit in. We took Eliza’s bike with us as she has only just got going and doesn’t like “change”. The bikes were great quality, in fantastic condition and the staff at the Dalby Forest Cycle Hub were very helpful. I would not advocate something I will not return to pay for.