One of our highlights of Christmas day was watching the Highway Rat on BBC.
The beautifully animated film, produced by Magic Pictures, is a swashbuckling adventure of bandits and biscuits, written by the UK’s best-selling author Julia Donaldson and illustrated by Axel Scheffler.
Since the film aired we have watched it several times and the book is also a firm favourite, especially with Sebastian.
For more Highway Rat fun, the Forestry Commission have teamed with Magic Light pictures to launch The Highway Rat’ Activity Trails around the country, with our closest one being at Moors Valley Country Park.
Visitors to the trail can explore and enjoy the world of their local woodland wildlife as they follow in the footsteps of a mischievous rodent intent on swiping the sweet treats of every creature he encounters (keep a close eye on your picnics!).
We picked up an exclusive highway saddle bag for just £3.00, which includes a Highway Rat mask, a trail leaflet with activities to complete, a crayon for the rubbings, a pencil for the activities, some string and stickers. If you don’t have a trail near you, can download some fun activity sheets from the Forestry Commission website to use on your own winter walks.
The trail is aimed at younger children, but Isaac and Eliza enjoyed looking out for the characters and joining in the activities as much as Sebastian did.
The trail follows forest paths and is 2km long (just over one mile). The paths are well-marked out, but the weather has been very wet recently, so they were very slippery and muddy underfoot, so wellies are highly recommended if you are visiting over half term.
There are several activity boards along the route, along with smaller boards depicting characters from the story, including a squirrel, crow, horse, beaver, duck and the Highway Rat all making an appearance along the way.
With some of the activity boards, there were some fun rubbings to do, depicting items that the High Rat likes to steal including a slice of cake, a nut, a sweet and a tomato.
Others had us hopping, jumping and building things, or just looking and listening out for local wildlife.
Towards the end of the trail there is a brilliant ‘Wanted’ poster with a cut-out so you can pop your head into the frame.
Once you have finished the trail, the great thing about Moors Valley is there is so much more to do, with a play trail featuring some brand new equipment, two play parks, a miniature railway and a large picnic area.
The playtrail begins where the Highway trail ends, so the kids shot off in search of their favourite activities.
We discovered that the snakes had enjoyed a recent makeover and that there were added climbing posts to that area which Isaac couldn’t wait to scale.
They were suitably impressed by the new, enormous Hawk House!
Of course, they loved their old favourites too!!
And enjoyed splashing through the muddy puddles, of which there were plenty!
I highly recommend the Highway Rat Trail at Moors Valley and keep your eyes peeled from some Gruffalo characters at the start of the trail.
If you loved the Highway Rat film, I have a fabulous giveaway for a merchandise pack which includes the DVD, a cuddly toys, jigsaw and book over on my Chelseamamma Competitions Page.