The Gruffalo Trail at Colin Glen Forest Park, Belfast

Gruffalo trail

Updated On: April 09, 2024 by   Salma IhabSalma Ihab

At the heart of Colin Glen Forest Park in Belfast, you can live inside a book instead of reading it by exploring the Gruffalo Trail! The fantastic characters’ book “Grufallo” written by Julia Donaldson and the illustrations done by Axel Scheffler are brought to life. Now, you can see the beautifully and professionally sculptured characters around you. Have a kind experience with family and children around the magic characters and the nice weather on the trail at Colen Glen Forest Park in Belfast.

Gruffalo Trail – Colin Glen Forest Park – Northern Ireland

Colin Glen Forest Park, Belfast

Colin Glen Forest Park is one of the most attractive destinations in the southwestern area of Belfast, mainly in the heart of the Belfast hills. The stunning wood-made park has a lot of kids’ activities. The various activities include rope, kayaking, mountain biking, archery, team building, and other educational programs, in addition to a magnificent view of Belfast from higher points and beautiful walks around the wooded park.

Colin Park is considered as Belfast’s Green Lung. Lately, the park has been the first public park in Northern Ireland to be given the Green Flag Award, a national benchmark for the quality of parks and green areas.

A part of the park’s spirit is that it has become the perfect area for individuals and families to have a playful and adventurous time to take a break from their stressful daily lives.

What is the Deal with “The Gruffalo”?!

Written by Julia Donaldson, a renowned writer of many children’s picture books, The Gruffalo is an award-winning children’s book which sold more than 13 million copies. The book tells the story of a clever mouse and his journey in a European forest. The Gruffalo was also turned into many plays and an animated movie, and it was nominated for an Oscar later.

The Gruffalo’s Plot

The famous picture book is about a mouse journeying in a European forest where he meets different animals: an owl, a fox, and a snake. All the animals he meets intend to trick him into going home with them and eat him, but the mouse is smart enough to know how to escape all the dangers.

To avoid danger, the mouse tells every animal he’s meeting his friend, The Gruffalo, for dinner. According to the mouse, The Gruffalo is a giant mix-breed monster who is half grizzly bear and half buffalo. The Gruffalo’s most-liked food is the animal the muse is talking to (the fox, the owl or the snake). The whole Gruffalo story then scares the animal, and they run away. The mouse then starts to make fun of them, saying, “Silly old fox/owl/snake, doesn’t he know? There’s no such thing as a Gruffalo!”

After tricking and getting rid of all the animals, the mouse meets an actual Gruffalo with all the details he tells the other animals. The Gruffalo tells the mouse that he’s going to eat him, but the clever mouse knows how to even deceive the scary monster, telling him that all the animals in the forest fear him (the mouse). The Gruffalo was impressed by the mouse’s confidence and decided to walk with him around the forest. All the animals who wanted to eat the mouse were scared when they saw him walking with the Gruffalo. And every time this happens, the Gruffalo gets more impressed with how mighty the mouse is. The funny part about the whole story is when the mouse threatened to eat the Gruffalo, who had escaped just like the other animals. The Gruffalo story is borrowed from a famous Chinese story.

The Amazing Gruffalo Trail – Bringing The Famous Story To Life

Every animal from The Gruffalo book was turned into a sculpture by the sculptor Andrew Mclntyre to be placed in the park, creating a unique experience for visitors. Imagine reliving the story of the trail! Your walk around the trail will take around 45 minutes; this includes the whole walk to The Gruffalo and returning from it. However, this also depends on how long you take to take pictures with the characters.

gruffalo trail

You don’t need to worry about the expenses; the whole trail experience is free. ٍSince the experience is suitable for every age range and every taste, you need to gather up your family or kids and go there for them to enjoy the unique experience and for yourself to enjoy the beauty and the weather of the park, especially with the splendid view of Colin River, and maybe a cup of tea or coffee at the centre of the park.

gruffalo trail
The Smart Mouse Sculpture

The walk to the trail begins with the Gruffalo Archway, passing through the Sky Trek path leading you to the area where you can find the characters: the clever mouse, the foolish fox, the owl, the snake and the massive 8 feet tall sculpture of The Gruffalo! Due to its fame, the park receives around 1,000 people every day. With this number of visitors, the Colin Glen Forest Park is considered the most visited park in Belfast.

gruffalo trail
The Owl Sculpture

The park is a perfect destination if you’re bored or looking for a unique adventure. Take your family there to experience the fun trail characters, or take your friends to take some fun and social media-worthy pictures.

Interactive Fun for All Ages

One of the trail’s highlights is its interactive elements, designed to engage visitors of all ages in playful exploration. Along the trail, adventurers will find activity stations and play areas encouraging hands-on interaction with the story’s themes and characters.

Children can test their wits at the Gruffalo’s Child Activity Trail, solving puzzles and riddles inspired by the sequel to the original story. Meanwhile, adults can join in the fun or simply relish the opportunity to reconnect with their inner child amidst the natural beauty of the forest.

Educational Opportunities

Beyond its entertainment value, the trail also offers educational opportunities for young learners. As families explore the trail together, they can discover more about the flora and fauna of the forest, learning to identify different species of trees, plants, and wildlife.

Interpretive signs along the trail provide fascinating insights into the Colin Glen Forest Park ecosystem, highlighting the importance of conservation and environmental stewardship. Through hands-on learning experiences, children gain a deeper appreciation for nature and the interconnectedness of all living things.

Seasonal Events and Activities

Throughout the year, Colin Glen Forest Park hosts various seasonal events and activities centred around the trail. From Easter egg hunts to Halloween-themed adventures, there’s always something new and exciting to discover in this enchanting forest setting.

Families can participate in guided nature walks, storytelling sessions, and arts and crafts workshops inspired by the world of The Gruffalo. These events foster community and camaraderie among visitors, creating lasting memories for children and adults alike.

Planning Your Visit

If you’re planning a trip to The Gruffalo Trail at Colin Glen Forest Park, there are a few things to remember to ensure a memorable experience. Here are some tips for making the most of your visit:

  1. Check the Weather: Northern Ireland’s climate can be unpredictable, so dress appropriately for the weather conditions. Waterproof clothing and sturdy footwear are recommended, especially if you plan to explore the trail on rainy days.
  2. Pack a Picnic: Bring a picnic lunch or snacks to enjoy in one of the designated picnic areas within the park. Relax and unwind amidst the natural beauty of the forest, taking in the sights and sounds of the great outdoors.
  3. Respect the Environment: Help preserve the beauty of Colin Glen Forest Park by disposing of litter properly and staying on designated paths during your visit. Respect the wildlife and refrain from disturbing their natural habitats.
  4. Capture the Moment: Don’t forget to bring a camera or smartphone to capture memories of your adventure on The Gruffalo Trail. From scenic vistas to whimsical sculptures, plenty of photo opportunities await discovery.

Check out another video of the trail below:

Gruffalo Trail, Colin Glen Park, Belfast, Northern Ireland


The Colin Glen Forest Park trail offers a magical escape into children’s literature, inviting visitors to embark on an unforgettable journey through the pages of a beloved storybook. With its charming sculptures, interactive activities, and educational opportunities, the trail provides fun and entertainment for the whole family.

Whether you’re a fan of The Gruffalo or simply seeking a day of outdoor adventure, Colin Glen Forest Park has something for everyone to enjoy. So, lace up your walking shoes, pack a sense of curiosity, and prepare to be enchanted by the wonders of the trail.

On their website, check out more about the trail and what else to do at Colin Glen Forest Park. Have you ever been there? Or have we made you want to visit soon? We would love to hear your stories 🙂

Also, check out some of our other blog posts of places that we have visited that you might like: Narnia Trail, Ulster American Folk Park, Redburn County Park, Castlewellan Forest Park, Crawfordsburn, Sir Thomas and Lady Dixon Park, Mount Stewart House and Gardens.

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