FAMILIES across Gloucestershire are being invited to Westonbirt Aboretum to celebrate the 15th anniversary of a popular children’s book with a big birthday forest picnic on Saturday, June 7.

On the day there will be face painting, storytelling and Gruffalo themed crafts, as well as appearances from the Gruffalo himself.

In time for the picnic, 15 giant wooden sculptures of one of the world’s best loved monster himself will be hidden in forests across England, for families to track down.

An exciting party pack of forest activities and Gruffalo inspired picnic ideas, such as Gruffalo crumble and mouse droppings that taste like raisins, is free for those who sign up.

The party packs also include blank Gruffalo invitations so visitors can invite their family and friends, recommended party games such as ‘Pin the wart on the Gruffalo,’ and ‘What’s the time Mr Gruffalo,’ as well as five different activity sheets to keep the children inspired during their time at Westonbirt.

The big birthday picnic is part of a range of activities happening in forests across England this year.

The Gruffalo activity trail started in April and runs through until July 31st. The trail is self-led and contains activities and crafts for families to try out on their walk around the woods as they explore Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler’s award-winning tale.

Standing 7ft tall and all different, the Gruffalos have been individually-carved in a secret woodland location out of three-ton pieces of timber, each carefully-selected from Forestry Commission sites. The Gruffalo sculpture at Westonbirt will be unveiled on 7 June.

In October, The Gruffalo’s Child activity trails take over and will stay at Westonbirt right through the winter until February 2015.