We had a lovely morning in the sun yesterday Gruffalo hunting at Woodlesford Lock. It’s been nearly 18 months since we last visited so we were well overdue a trip. If you’re local to Leeds and your little ones love the Gruffalo I highly recommend a trip down to the canal to see if they can spot the Gruffalo and his friends.
These wooden sculptures aren’t actually part of the trails that the Forestry Commission has set up but are instead carved by a local man who lives on one of the canal boats moored at Woodlesford.
When we got to the canal the first thing we spotted were some amazing bug hotels that were part of a community project and certainly fascinated the Little Tots. We spotted plenty of spiders and ants in them and also a butterfly. Next to them was these two reindeers that according to my 4 year old must come alive on Christmas Eve with Santa’s magic.
Before we found the Gruffalo we explored some secret paths though the woods which included some muddy climbing up a steep slope and found a bird hide which G spied some birds through but they were frightened away by the time the 1 and 2 year old got there!
The Gruffalo sculpture is about 0.2 miles down the towpath (in a North West direction) and hidden in the woods so always a nice surprise for the Tots. This year a snake, owl, fox and mouse have also been added which weren’t there last time.
If you carry along the path and into the woods there are some more wooden sculptures to discover including this gorilla which the 2 year old with me confirmed was “scary Clare, don’t like it” – I think it’s the teeth!
We also found an elephant and another Gruffalo further up but this one was in need of a bit of repair.
Following the path into the woods we came across lots of ducks who soon worked out we had bread and the Little Tots had a lot of fun feeding them. The ducks got really close and even pecked a few shoes much to the amusement of J who now happily says “gak gak” when he sees a duck.
We carried on walk for about a mile before stopping at a small pond to feed more ducks then turning round to come back down the tow path. If you carry on there is another lock where you can cross over and walk down the other side but as I had the pram with me I couldn’t get it over the bridge so we went back the way we came.
On the way back we were lucky enough to see a canal boat waiting for the lock to fill up and the Little Tots patiently sat for 10 minutes watching the water slowly rise before the bridge opened to let the canal boat through.
And of course what fun morning wouldn’t be complete without a picnic under the apple trees for shade.
For more information on how to find Woodlesford Lock follow the directions on the Canal & River Trust page. We came by bus today which was a short 5 minute walk from the bus stop but there is a small (free) car park next to the canal.
This trip is part of my commitment to Forest Childcare which involves weekly trips out to explore the great outdoors as a childminder.