Smelly mud, the Gruffalo and a dungeon master

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A couple of weeks back we decided to head out for a walk to our local woodland – Delamere Forest. This was always somewhere we visited as kids. There were few car parks or paths back in the 80s and as kids we loved it. We would throw our welly boots and rain coats into the back of the car and head out for adventures. Driving through the forest was always magical as a kid, the road bobbing up and down, the light dimming as you passed further into the woods. We would choose a nice muddy “layby” at the side of the road, put on our boots and coats and head off into the woods. I have vivid memories of my older brothers making swords and bows & arrows out of sticks they would find whilst I was scared of the ferns because my eldest brother had told me that’s where the snakes lived (I still don’t go into ferns today – thanks Bro!)

We would find muddy puddles to run through, trees to climb and occasionally had family picnics on the damp mossy picnic benches.

To be honest, I still do all those things but now it’s with Husband, Daughter & Mia. We still find a little muddy “lay-by” to park in and we still find the muddy puddles. Delamere is great if you want to have a really good woodland walk – off the paths, through the ferns (not me) and into some very dense woodland full of bogs, bracken and possibly Bugbears (I can neither confirm nor deny this as fact). But if you want to stick to paths and maybe have a cuppa and an ice cream after your walk then you can head down to towards the station and park at the Forest Centre Car Park. Here you will find bike hire, café, ice creams & Go Ape.

We decided to visit this area of Delamere as we had been told that there was a Gruffalo Trail. Maddie is in year 6 now so she has grown out of the Gruffalo but she enjoyed having control of her dads phone for a couple of hours whilst we went Gruffalo hunting. The app is free to download and use. All you have to do it aim your camera at the markers when you find them and by the power of augmented reality you can have your picture taken with mouse, snake, owl and a few others. We decided to do this trail during the summer holidays and it was incredibly busy, but each marker had 2 you could chose from so we didn’t have to wait too long before we had our turn. Whilst driving to Delamere we were explaining to Maddison how the app would work quoting good old ITVs Knightmare from the 80s & 90s – of course she had no idea what we were talking about, but it allowed her father and I to spend the rest of the journey relaying tales of The Dungeon Master and as kids why you could never understand why they couldn’t see what was going on from under the giant helmet. I am sad to say that there was no Forbidden Gate or Sorcerers Isle to overcome. Shame really, I liked watching Knightmare after school with a cup of tea and a jam butty.

We walked to Blakemere Moss after our Gruffalo hunting was done. This allowed us to move away from the crowds of small children screaming that they had dropped their Mr Whippy on the floor or that their sister had pushed them off the log. Instead we found the tranquillity of the very dark, very muddy and quite smelly in parts Blakemere Moss. This is a lovely area to walk around, with plenty of wildlife to see and water for Mia to paddle in.

Delamere does offer a great day out, the car parks can be a little expensive but they have toilets, lighting, good footpaths – all of which has to be paid for and maintained. But I am a sucker for a free muddy layby, boggy ground to manoeuvre and a soggy picnic bench


Reflections in Blakemere Moss (copyright Mia’s Travels UK)




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