Wendover Woods in Buckinghamshire is much better than it used to be thanks to millions of pounds spent on upgrading the play equipment, car park, cafe and loos and I would go as far to say it’s one of my favourite places we’ve visited in 2019. You can read my full review of Wendover Woods from earlier on in the year where we did the play trail and Gruffalo trail. This article however I’m focusing on the Shaun the Sheep Glow Trail which we visited in October 2019 as it contains the kind of information I would have found useful before we visited.
Where is the Shaun the Sheep glow trail and how much does it cost to do?
The Shaun the Sheep Glow trail is at Wendover Woods in Buckinghamshire which is a 40 minute drive from where we live in Milton Keynes. The best postcode is HP22 5NQ – although as you approach the area look out for signs for Wendover Woods as otherwise you’ll go too far. There is another Shaun the Sheep glow trail closer to Milton Keynes and Northamptonshire if you don’t want to travel quite as far at Salcey Forest, BUT personally since the tree top trail closed at Salcey Forest in May 2018 – and there’s no news about whether it may ever open again – then I’d prefer to have a full day out and drive to Wendover as there’s more to do. There is no entry fee at Wendover but you do pay to park. The car park is an ANPR one. You pay when you leave and put your registration in. When we visited it was £4.30 for up to 4 hours – don’t stay over that time unless you want to pay £8 to park – which I think is steep for over 4 hours. One Shaun the Sheep trail pack costs £3.50. You get it from the visitors cabin next to the parking machines. To find the entrance to the Shaun the sheep trail head to the cafe and then keep the little play area with the house and slide on your left and walk along that path near the Go Ape. There is a start sign for the shaun the sheep trail but it’s not massive.
What does the Shaun the Sheep trail pack contain and is it worth buying?
The trail pack contains a UV pen, a trail sheet, stickers and puzzles to do at home. Do you need to buy it? I’m inclined to say yes. If you do want to do it in the cheapest way possible and you have a UV light of some description at home then simply take that with you. As we went around my two sons didn’t bother with anything else in the pack although they may look at the rest of it at a later date. If you don’t have a UV pen or light then buy the pack. Before you go and to get the most out of it download the free app just in case you don’t get a signal when you’re there. I searched ‘glow trail’ on google play and found it like that. The app is linked to each of the signposts and it’s much more fun with it – and it enables you to take some augmented reality pictures too – so do download it. I took my sons aged six and four – we did only buy one pack between them.
What is the Shaun the Sheep trail at Wendover Woods like?
It’s really fun. It’s a walk around Wendover Woods that uses eight markers which take you in a loop from near the Go Ape round to the Gruffalo statue. When you find a marker you use your UV pen to light up a picture in a circle on the post. You then go on to your app and choose the same number marker. It will have pieces of the picture split up and you have to move them on your phone to create the same image that’s on the marker. If you don’t have the app on your phone you can match the picture on the post to one on your trail sheet. We only bought one trail pack. My six year old can read well and will be able to do the other activities in the pack. My four year old can’t read yet and so wouldn’t be bothered. And actually it worked really well. My 4 year old used the UV pen to light up the symbol. My six year old then pieced it together on the app on the phone. They each felt like they had a role which they enjoyed and worked as a team. You then do that for the rest of the markers and you finish at the Gruffalo statue. It took us about 45 minutes to do it.
What happens once you’ve finished the Shaun the Sheep trail?
Once you’ve completed all of the puzzles on the app you’re then able to take an augmented reality photo which includes Shaun the Sheep and a blue alien. I ‘think’ you do need internet access to do it. When I did it and the ‘glow’ appears on your phone and your press it then two moving characters appear and you can take a photo of the kids with the characters. When my husband tried it he didn’t have internet access and a static picture of the characters appears. A couple of tips regarding the photos… if you want to take lots of pictures then don’t press ‘done’ – press ‘retake’ and all of the photos will download to your phone and you can continue to take them. If you do press ‘done’ then if you do want to take more photos you’ll need to complete all the puzzles again. Second tip… if you want to get photos of the kids with the characters at any time – even when you’re home – just do the puzzles again and you can take more photos! In theory if you can figure out what the pictures are then you don’t even need to have done the trail to then take photos. A word of warning though, my four year old son went expecting to see and meet Shaun the Sheep, so he was a bit disappointed when we got to the end of the trail and there wasn’t a real-life Shaun or sculpture. And he was then most confused when I took his picture and Shaun was in the photo despite the fact he couldn’t see him. So manage your children’s expectations if you’ve got little ones.
What else can you do at Wendover Woods?
Wendover woods is a huge site and includes a number of trails. There is a play trail which includes various wooden activities; a Gruffalo trail which follows markers and signs; a Zog trail; and a play area. It’ll be repetitive for me to talk about them again so please just refer to my previous Wendover Woods review. There’s also a cafe which has opened since we last visited which is very modern. Food and drink isn’t cheap so definitely take a picnic for a cheaper day out. It’s definitely worth visiting. In the four hours we were there we did the play trail, stopped for lunch, the Shaun the Sheep trail, had a coffee and then went in the play area. You could easily spend all day there – but you do pay £8 to park once you go over 4 hours. The staff don’t know how long the Shaun the Sheep trail would be there but thought it may still be there by at least the start of 2020.
Any tips for going to Wendover Woods?
Yes. I’d probably wear wellies if I were you. When we visited in October 2019 it was borderline welly weather so I’d take them. The glow trail includes a bit between a couple of the posts that is downhill on rough ground. We had to go in single file so I don’t know how accessible that bit is for buggies – we haven’t used one in a couple of years now – so I’d urge caution particularly if it’s muddy. Definitely download the app before you go in case you don’t have an internet signal – just search for ‘glow trail’. The pay machine does take card. Watch your time though as it’s £8 after 4 hours. The people at Wendover Woods didn’t know how long the trail would be on for – although they hoped it would be there until early 2020. If you’re reading this at that point then maybe check it’s on before travelling. If you’ve found this review useful then please do search the rest of my website – most of the places I feature are free and cheap days out.
I'm Laura, mum of a 6 year old and a 4 year old. I've spent the last year on maternity leave creating this blog. It's a hobby and I do it all late at night once the little boys are sleeping. I hope you find it useful. Do drop me an email firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to contact me. Don't forget to follow all of our latest adventures on facebook, instagram and twitter and have a look at all of the videos of the places we visit on my Milton Keynes Kids YouTube Channel - subscribe to it for notifications every time I add a new place.