A Zog trail is the new trend and are popping up in most places now. Taking over the old Gruffalo trails. Zog is one of my favourite Julia Donaldson books. Clark however is more of a highway rat kinda kid.
Not that we let it put us off from dragging them out of the comfort of their warm homes into the freezing forest to search for the Zog anyway.
Now i could bullshit you all. Say how it was a magical day. That we didn’t notice the cold. That the kids had a great day and it was a stress free. However i won’t because in reality the kids did our heads in so much i wanted to drop kick them into the deepest depths of Salcey forest.
Salcey forest is one that we have been too lots. Not since i have started blogging though. In that time one of Salcey forest’s main attractions has shut. That is the treetop walk. It was one of my favorite walks of all times it was stunning and so different to other places we have visited.
Unfortunately due to health and safety it has been shut. Aka too many fat bastards have walked up and down it and its now not structurally safe anymore.
So to stop us all from plummeting to our grizzly deaths its shut for the foreseeable future. They are now trying to figure out how to raise the money to fix it. I’m guessing its not a matter of a PTA bake sale and jobs done though.
Despite all that don’t be put off from visiting Salcey forest. Its one of the nicest forests we’ve been too and there is still so much for everyone to do.
It was time to get our Zog hunt on. Parking was easy today. Probably because of how shitting cold it was. In the warmer months the main car park can get packed. There are overflows though. Or if you’re a selfish git and don’t want to support the preservation of the forest you can park roadside.
Parking is £4 for the whole day and is well worth the money. There i go sitting on my high horse about paying for parking to support he forest. Then as we pull up some lovely young couple pull up next to us and give us their day ticket.
I know I’m a hypocrite but its been years since I’ve seen a simple act like giving people your parking ticket has happen. I remember it used to be the done thing. With new parking meters to combat this now though i guess its harder to do. It did put a smile on my normally miserable face though.
Wrap up and boot up.
Time to get these kids wrapped up and waterproofed. It was about to get muddy. Tip: take their wellies and waterproofs you will need them. Don’t come rocking up in you’re new Vans that you got for Christmas you will destroy them.
It was at this point i realised i had packed another pair of Clark’s waterproofs instead of one of Elliot’s. Tough shit Elliot had to run round in them anyway looking like a miniature version of Mc Hammer.
Because we are potty training i knew this one was going to be a bitch. Especially with the layers and the dungarees. Ah well at least they were waterproof.
If you want a pack to do the Zog trail head over to the Information station which is in the same building as the toilets. Its only open until 2pm though.
The packs are £3 each (Card payment only) and if you have a Zog lover that’s really looking forward to taking part in the Zog trail then they’re worth it. The kids really enjoyed there’s we got them one each because hell will freeze over before we can get them to share. That being said i don’t think they would have noticed if they didn’t have them.
In fact it could have saved me the backache of having to pick up the special lense that Elliot kept dropping because he couldn’t grip it with his mittens on.
Inside the pack you’ll find a special lens which reveals hidden pictures along the trail, a booklet with fun activities, and a Zog mask.
Its a 1 mile trail that’s apparently easy (they haven’t tried walking that with a 5 and 2 year old) and is suitable for pushchairs and wheelchairs. Be warned it gets bloody muddy.
Bad day for walking.
The Zog trail is good. One thing i would mention is in parts the markers are a bit too far apart. It was at these points the kids whined the most.
Today just wasn’t a good walking day for The Family Ticket. Clark was constantly tired and Elliot threw a shit fit at every opportunity which in turns put me and the husbeast in a shit mood too.
We managed to feed them round and distract them at times with the Zog trail, The hut building, Hide and seek and they both loved the little wooden house village too.
I had to take Elliot into the forest once for a pee which took about 5 mins just to get his trousers down. Think he managed to pee down the back of his dungarees (well technically Clark’s) but a quick baby wipe and he was on his way again.
A bit more about Salcey Forest.
Its not all about the Zog trail here. You can also do the Gruffalo Orienteering trail which is £1.50 which we kept coming across markers for those too. We will probably try this one next time we go.
There’s family cycle routes, loads of walking routes with different difficulty levels, Running trails, Horse riding and even a pretty cool play park.
Although the play park is a good one I’d say its aimed at the older more agile of kids. I wouldn’t say there was anything safe enough for Elliot to try and tackle alone. (Maybe I’m being over protective)
Despite our children being absolute ball bags we still decided to reward them with a hot chocolate in the cafe afterwards. (I’ve no idea why they don’t listen). However it was more for us than the kids and it has become a tradition to have a hot chocolate after a walk here.
The cafe here is one of my favourites. The food and cakes are lovely, Fairly reasonably priced as far as this type of cafe goes and its lovely looking too. There is limited space inside but they do have extra seating outside. Luckily we bagged us a table indoors.
All you dog Walkers will be happy to know that dogs are welcome off the lead the whole way round the forest. We don’t recall seeing many/any dog poo bins. This unfortunately resulted in me seeing a few do shit baubles. My absolute pet hate. Why oh why do the selfish stupid arse owners pick up their dog shit, Bag it then dangle it from a tree??? If i ever see anyone do this i will personally hang them from the tree by their underpants!
I’m not 100% sure about dogs being welcome in the cafe. I did see one dog in there but I’m not sure if its because the owner smuggled it in and hid it under the table or not so you might want to double check first.
Salcey Forest Stats:
Distance from Bicester: 45 mins
Sat nav: Quinton Road, Northamptonshire, NN7 2HX
Wheelchair friendly: Yes
Equipment upkeep: 9/10
Facilities: 10/10 one set of toilets near car park though.
Age range: All ages
Safety: 8/10 (common sense needed in places)
Fun factor: 10/10
Dog friendly: Your dogs will love it!
We love Salcey forest. Our kids were unusually difficult (aka being dicks) today. This will not put us off from re visiting again and again. I really hope that the treetop walks reopens this year at some point but all we can do it wait for news.
We probably wouldn’t do the Zog trail again. Not because it was crap but because if you’ve done it once i don’t think it needs to be done again. We would like to try Geo cashing and the Gruffalo Orienteering though.
I would 100% recommend any of you to come and visit here. Its one of the better places we’ve been for varying yet clearly marked walking routes and its brilliant for dogs too.
Take a picnic, take their wellies and enjoy getting muddy…we didn’t this time as much but i know we have and will again.
For more information on whats available at Salcey forest check their website HERE
If you wanted another venue that is doing the Zog Trail then Wendover woods is also running one and you can read our review of the woods HERE