(with thanks to Rebecca Murphy of the Thetford Times, article originally printed April 12 2017)
It is one of the most picturesque and well-loved sites of natural beauty in our region, but how much do you know about Thetford Forest?
Here are some interesting facts
- It is one of the UK’s largest man-made forest – it is also the largest lowland pine forest in England, covering 18,730 hectares
- High Lodge is one of the venues for the Forest Live gigs. Ed Sheeran, James Bay and Simply Red are some of the acts which have graces the stage.
- The first trees were planted during the 1920s – shortly after the Forestry Commission was established to replenish the nation’s timber following the First World War
- The forest was planted on open heath land and shooting estates. Beneath the trees are prehistoric flint mines and Bronze Age burial mounds
- The High Lodge visitor centre was built in 1992. It offers the start of many different trails into the forest and is also home to the popular Go Ape and adventure play
- Warren Lodge, located near Risbeth Woods, is thought to have been built in the 1400s by the prior of Thetford. It protected gamekeepers against poachers.
- It is an internationally import Special Protection Area, a nationally designated Site of Special Scientific Interest and a Special Area of Conservation
- It is home to a wide variety of tree species, including Corsican pine, Douglas Fir, larch, Weymouth pine and broadleaves
- Thetford Forest is the third most visited attraction in the region with more than 1.5 million visitors annually.
- A voluntary body, called the Friends of Thetford Forest, was established in 1995. It aims to increase knowledge, understanding, and enjoyment of the forest.