Explore this magnificent forest, tucked away in The Brecks. It is a wonderful haven to wildlife and humans alike
Thetford Forest is definitely a place to go and chill out. It is really spectacular and as a family you can experience high wire tree climbing, camping, bike riding and open-air concerts to name just a few things that might peak your interest.
The history of it is equally fascinating as it was created after the First World War because we had lost so much timber during wartime especially the slow growing variety. Breckland was chosen as most of the land was owned by large estates who lost a lot of money through the war and it was scattered through with derelict farms with a very high percentage of unemployment.
So the then recently set up Forestry Commission purchased the land in the 1920/30s and within the first twenty years more than 80% of the forest was planted up.
The great thing about this forest is that it was established on the really poor gorse covered sandy soil of Breckland which was probably caused in the first place by the Neolithic miners in the Grimes Graves flint diggings, the breeding and feeding of the deer in order to have meat and antlers for their tools and topped off by all the rabbits building huge warrens.
So with the replanting of the forest with mostly fast growing pine trees, the age old problem of the surface topsoil erosion was stopped.
When you visit the forest today you can see how the commercial side of it works so well and in turn it has provided a fantastic haven for all wildlife, the deer species, muntjac, roe and red are booming as are hares, rabbits, song and game birds.
The humans also find it such a haven, there is so much to see and do. There are plenty of cleared areas for camping, an education centre where even the tiny tots can learn about forestry and conservation, walking trails, mountain biking trails and on some evenings you will see huskies pulling sleds!
When you get into the forest on one of the many walking trails, the quiet and stillness shouts at you and you wonder if you are all alone until suddenly you hear perhaps a woodlark singing, with a golden pheasant adding his not so tuneful squawk! Mind you even with so many biking and hiking trails, it is possible to spend several hours without seeing another mortal soul!
This long distance footpath follows the route of a roman road. It starts in Suffolk, skirts around the edge of the forest but does have many little routes branching through and meets up with the Norfolk Coastal Path. It is a great walk and a wonderful way to see Norfolk, but remember to take a tent as the route runs for about 97 miles! It is said to be haunted by Black Shuck a ghostly black dog, so take doggy treats too just in case!
If music floats your boat, the forest gives up the most wonderful open air concerts. Such acts as Pulp, Ed Sheeran through to Katherine Jenkins and Blake have performed in the dead of night in the forest!
Having taken my picnic and waterproofs more than once I can say that there is nothing better than listening to live music surrounded by the rustling audience of the trees with the moon and stars twinkling their approval too!