VISITORS to the deep, dark wood that is Moors Valley Country Park and Forest have a surprise waiting for them.

A giant wooden sculpture of literary favourite The Gruffalo has been unveiled at the park, near Ringwood, by the Forestry Commission, to celebrate the 15th anniversary of the character created by children’s author Julia Donaldson.

Forests across England are hosting the 7ft tall structures, which have all been individually carved and each feature a different pose. They were created in a secret woodland location out of three-ton pieces of timber, carefully selected from Forestry Commission trees, before being secretly delivered to their chosen sites for unveiling.

Andrew Norris, Forestry Commission recreation manager, said: “There is no better way to celebrate The Gruffalo than within the deep dark woods and forests he calls home.

“The Gruffalo is a national treasure and so are our forests. We are delighted to help to bring the story to life and celebrate the anniversary in true Gruffalo style.”

The monster himself will be paying a visit to the park on Friday, July 11.

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