Nestled in the parklands of Carrick Hill, the Children's Story Book Trail is designed primarily for children to explore the natural world. It uses delightful classic tales to fire up their imagination and creativity.
At the start of the trail, you will see Ratty's boat floating on a pond. Ratty, Mole, Badger and Mr Toad are four animal friends in the novel Wind in the Willows. Their exciting adventures in the English countryside are written by Kenneth Graham in 1908. Instead of spring cleaning, Mole goes to the riverbank where he comes across Ratty. They spend some time together and visit the owner of Toad Hall, Mr Toad, who has a great deal of money. With some imagination, the Carrick Hill house can look strangely like Toad Hall when you glance back.
As you walk along, you will encounter a glimpse of Hobbiton, a village where small humanlike creatures live. Bilbo, an unwilling hero of the fantasy novel The Hobbit, leaves the village and sets off with a group of dwarfs to recover stolen treasure from a dragon. If you look closely, you might just find the dragon lurking about.
Continue through the trees and you will find yourself in a "secret garden", bordered by terraces with steps leading to a gate. In the novel by Frances Hodgson Burnett, Mary discovers an old key that opens a locked door into the late Mrs Craven's walled garden. The key is hidden not far from the gate, so do search for it when you're there. We managed to discover the key after a bit of a search!
Published in 1952, American author E.B. White writes about a spider who saved a pig's life. Charlotte the spider and Wilbur the pig are devoted friends, and you will bump into Wilbur on this trail. He is near a large rope spider web, which, using your imagination, can resemble "Charlotte's web". Kids are welcome to climb and play on it.
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe is the second book of The Chronicles of Narnia series by C.S. Lewis. Four adventurous siblings step through a wardrobe into a wintry land enslaved by the power of a witch. However, Aslan the Great Lion brings hope when all hope is lost. Just like the siblings, are you able to see a lamp post among the trees? Also, can you recognise Aslan who is waiting patiently nearby?
Lastly, the trail will lead you to Mowgli's camp. In The Jungle Book, an Indian boy named Mowgli is raised by wolves and grows up learning wisdom from jungle animals. Elephants, tigers and zebras can be seen if you stop and look. There's also a howling wolf on the council rock, and lots of things for the kids to do in each of the cubby houses.
Fantastic trail. I hope it inspires both kids and parents to read these wonderful books. I feel we are destroying imagination as we serve our kids with ipads and pack them away for the so called 'quiet time'.