Who will you find in the deep dark wood? (Feb 2018)

Who will you find in the deep dark wood? (Feb 2018)

For the first time ever, Moors Valley Country Park will transform its forest into the deep dark wood, with the installation of all the character sculptures from the Gruffalo story.

As part of the ongoing relationship with Magic Light Pictures, Forestry Commission England is bringing the world-famous tale to life through new sculptures of each of the characters from famous books written by Julia Donaldson and illustrated by Axel Scheffler. Mouse, Fox, Owl, Snake, and Squirrel will join existing Gruffalo sculptures at Moors Valley Country Park and Forest.

Wood used to create these five new sculptures includes timber taken from the renowned Old Man of Kent, which was the country’s tallest tree, located at the Forestry Commission’s Bedgebury Pinetum. The Old Man had to be felled last year due to disease and wind damage, and has now been given a new lease of life, taking shape as the favourite characters from the Gruffalo’s story.

To celebrate launching the Gruffalo’s friends at Moors Valley on Saturday 24 February visitors will have the chance to meet the real Gruffalo himself, when he’ll be making special appearances between 10am and 2pm.

Visitors will be able to seek out the story characters in the forest picnic area and set their imaginations alight on their own Gruffalo adventure.

New activity sheets have been created to get children exploring the deep dark wood with activities that encourage them to find, feel, listen and spot in the forest.

Tracey Churcher, the Forestry Commission’s Recreation Manager for Dorset, said:

“The Gruffalo is a fantastic forest themed family story which is thoroughly enjoyed by our visitors. After the success of our Gruffalo Spotters trail, it is great to be able to add another dimension to our Gruffalo story by installing these beautifully carved sculptures of the books’ characters that can be enjoyed by families for many years. We hope people have fun meeting them on their forest adventure at Moors Valley.”

Alex Sanson, Magic Light Pictures, said

“Our partnership with Forestry Commission has really gone from strength to strength since its launch in 2014. The addition of these new character sculptures will give families the chance to live out the story in the deep dark wood for years to come. We’re really pleased to see our forest partnership flourishing year on year and hope that lots more families will have a great time outdoors, discovering their local forest, and searching for the Gruffalo characters.”

All the sculptures have been created by master chainsaw carvers at Woodland Centre Ltd in West Sussex and hand coloured with wood stain, before being placed in the perfect spot in the woods.

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Editor’s Notes

Please credit images to Forestry Commission, Crown Copyright.
For image requests please contact Esta Mion, Communications Manager, Forestry Commission – South England Forest District. esta.mion@forestry.gsi.gov.uk / 07900 137 957.

About the Forestry Commission
The Forestry Commission is the government department responsible in England for protecting, expanding and promoting the sustainable management of woods and forests and increasing their value to society and the environment. http://www.forestry.gov.uk/england-about-uk
21 million people visit England’s Woods and Forests each year, which are cared for by Forest Enterprise England, an agency of the Forestry Commission. http://www.forestry.gov.uk/englandsforests

About Magic Light
Magic Light Pictures is an award winning brand-building company with a strong background in production, creating rich and imaginative experiences for families worldwide.
The company directly manages production, licensing, global distribution and marketing. The company balances its brand-building work with film making of the highest quality – including Oscar-nominated animated feature Chico & Rita, comedy thriller Wild Target and natural history documentary One Life.
Magic Light’s key brand is The Gruffalo, from the best-selling picture books by author Julia Donaldson and illustrator Axel Scheffler.  Magic Light produced the Oscar and BAFTA-nominated half-hour animated films, The Gruffalo and The Gruffalo’s Child, and has sold them to over 180 broadcasters worldwide.  Magic Light also runs a cross-category international merchandising programme for The Gruffalo brand, with over 40 licensees and 250 products which capture the charm of the original books. Magic Light also produced Room on the Broom and Stick Man films – both have proved to be award winning half-hour classics that are as loved as The Gruffalo.
In 2016 Magic Light produced two half-hours based on Roald Dahl’s Revolting Rhymes. They were watched by 9.3million viewers and have won numerous awards.
Follow on Twitter @MagicLightPics

About Woodland Centre Ltd
Woodland Centre is a family-run business located at West Hoathly in West Sussex, creating unique chainsaw-carved timber sculptures that range from small, carry-away items to very large pieces weighing in excess of 1000 Kg.
They supply both private and institutional customers, including: Forestry Commission, Kew Gardens, the National Trust and numerous Local Authorities.  As well as the Gruffalo character sculptures, we have also sculpted Beatrix Potter and Wind in the Willows characters.
With an understanding of the customer’s requirements and budget, they create design drawings for their consideration, to bring their ideas to life.
They love working with wood; it is a joy to the team to discover the uniqueness of what nature has locked up within the tree.
Dave Lucas, the carver who created the Gruffalo character sculptures, discovered chainsaw sculpting whilst pursuing a life-long dream to become a professional pilot.
Find out more at www.woodlandcentre.co.uk and on YouTube at “Chainsaw Dave: time lapse” or follow on Twitter @ChainsawDaveUK