Take a trip down the Gruffalo trail

The launch of the Gruffalo Trail in Colin Forest Park.

The launch of the Gruffalo Trail in Colin Forest Park.

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Colin Glen Trust, supported by funding from Alpha and with the kind permission of Magic Light Pictures Ltd, recently unveiled one of the sculptures that will take up residence in Colin Glen Forest Park.

Based on the much loved picture book, The Gruffalo, written by Julia Donaldson and illustrated by Axel Scheffler, the Mouse character is the first of seven sculptures that are currently being created by Andrew McIntyre.

The Gruffalo Trail is due to open in late November and while the finishing touches are applied to the little mouse’s adversaries, he will remain in the Colin Glen Visitor Centre for anyone to visit.

Colin Glen Trust have been supported by Magic Light Pictures, license holders for the Gruffalo, throughout the development of the idea and it was only when they successfully applied to the Alpha Programme, managed and administered by Groundwork NI, that the idea started to become a reality.

Unveiling the first sculpture, Colin Glen Trust Chief Executive, Colin O’Neill said: “This is an exciting day for the Trust and for me personally. I have been reading The Gruffalo story, and indeed other Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler books, to my two daughters for a few years now and that is where the idea came from. Children and their parents will just love the opportunity to ‘take a stroll through the deep dark wood’ and follow the journey of the very clever mouse.”

Daryl Shute, Brand Director at Magic Light Pictures added: “It’s fantastic to be bringing the first Gruffalo character trail to Northern Ireland and what better location in which to do so. We’re delighted to be working with the Colin Glen Trust encouraging families to venture outdoors, enjoy the local landscape and get active with this special picture book character.”

“The Alpha Programme is delighted to be involved with this project,” said Warren Bell, representing the Alpha Programme Steering Group. “The Alpha Programme has supported a wide variety of environmental projects through the Landfill tax scheme and the Colin Glen Forest Park Gruffalo Trail is one that certainly captures the imagination. Undoubtedly it will get more people actively involved in the environment and more people using Colin Glen Forest Park.”

Since 2007 the Alpha Programme has provided nearly £3m in funding over 90 projects for biodiversity and community based schemes within a ten-mile radius of the Mullaghglass Landfill Site. The programme is managed by Groundwork NI and redistributes the landfill tax credits to support great projects and initiatives to create biodiversity or positively impact local communities.