Take the kids for a stroll through the deep dark wood
Thetford Forest is the largest lowland pine forest in the UK, sprawling across Suffolk and Norfolk. It is managed by Forestry England for timber production, but there are various cycling and walking trails allowing visitors to explore its 19 000 hectares.
Visitor facilities are clustered at High Lodge, which is located centrally within the forest and provides car parking and well-maintained toilet facilities. Access is from the B1107 (just off the A11) near the village of Brandon.
A short walk from the car park there is a large grassy meadow perfect for laying out a picnic blanket. For those who haven't packed a picnic, there is a café selling tempting hot food and ice-creams with indoor and outdoor seating.
Large boards show the cycling and walking trails that snake through the trees from High Lodge. The cycling options range from family-friendly tracks suitable for wobbly children to thrilling mountain bike tracks reserved for the brave. Likewise, you can choose the level of walk that suits you best starting from a 1km stroll family-friendly stroll with benches every 100 metres.
There are plenty of opportunities for children to enjoy adventure play under the trees, including a sand play area for toddlers and impressive climbing frames for older children. The sound of chimes floats magically through the forest to the east of the wild play area, from the 'sound trail' comprising outdoor musical equipment for children to jump on and hit. Children who are usually reluctant to walk will be racing ahead to find the next musical stop.
Carved animals are dotted around to keep kids entertained
For a charge, you can rope up and fly through the trees on the Go Ape treetops adventure course, or hire a Segway to speed along the forest floor without exertion.
The forest was planted for timber following the First World War and there is an informative display of boards near the car park explaining timber production and how the forest is managed. High Lodge is on the site of a 19th-century farmhouse and medieval warren lodge where rabbits were raised for meat and fur. Those interested in the history of the area should make sure they follow the Heritage Trail, which provides signage at various points explaining the history of the area.
Welcome to Weekend Notes Amy. I like your writing style - your 'wobbly children.' It's a good article, giving people everything they need to know for a visit. I do like seeing articles from other countries, looking at what the communities there do and see, rather than the glossed up versions we get on TV documentaries. I do hope you are all doing well over there.