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Thetford Forest Fir Trail

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Thetford Forest Fir Trail
Author: Claire, Published: 04 May 2012 Walk rating : Rating:star1 iFootpath - walking guides and directions for the UKstar1 iFootpath - walking guides and directions for the UKstar1 iFootpath - walking guides and directions for the UKstar1 iFootpath - walking guides and directions for the UKstar1 iFootpath - walking guides and directions for the UK
Suffolk, Thetford
Walk Type: Woodland
Thetford Forest Fir Trail
Length: 4 miles,  Difficulty: boot iFootpath - walking guides and directions for the UK
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A 3.5 mile circular trail through Thetford Forest on the border of Suffolk and Norfolk. The trail takes you deep into the forest to enjoy the wide variety of fir species planted throughout the forest. Along the way you’re likely to see plenty of wildlife including squirrels, rabbits and deer (much to the delight of our dog!) and there is also an opportunity for younger family members to enjoy the giant play sculptures.

The walk is relatively flat with just a few steady slopes and the woodland tracks will be muddy after wet weather and in winter. There are no stiles or gates and the route is waymarked to help you find your way. There is a cafe and toilet facilities at the start of the walk. The visitor centre can get very busy at peak times but once you’re out into the forest it soon becomes peaceful again. Approximate time 1.5 hours.

The walk starts from the Adder Car Park at the High Lodge Centre in Thetford Forest. The High Lodge Centre is accessed from the B1107, with brown signs for the Forest Centre. The access lane is one-way with barriers for payment, so if you are using a Sat Nav make sure it doesn’t take you in via the exit. The car park is pay on exit (pay stations take cash and cards). When we visited in April 2012 the cost was £1.90 per hour. Approximate post code IP27 0AF.

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Walk Sections

Adder Car Park to Woodland Path
Adder Car Park to Woodland Path

Start point: 52.4353 lat, 0.6619 long
End point: 52.4323 lat, 0.6591 long

From the Adder Car Park, head towards the tall totem pole (which is in fact a bore demonstrating the strata of the ground below), pass between the toilet block and parking pay station, and then fork left to head towards the main lodge centre. Keep right to pass to the right of the lodge centre and the Go Ape facility. Bear right to pass through the small picnic area and continue with the Go Ape high wire obstacles in the trees to your left.

After a few paces, fork left down a wider path of stone chippings, with Oak Lodge over to the right and a wooden sculpture of children playing on a tree to your immediate left. A few paces further along you’ll pass a giant play sculpture of a woodpecker on the left.

At the T-junction you will see a waymarker ahead (a wooden post with rings of colour and coloured plates with direction arrows). The Fir Trail (this walk) follows the yellow route. Turn right here as marked by the yellow arrow.

Follow the main track through a cross roads and as it begins to curve right. You will reach another waymarker on your left, marking the left hand turn into the woodland path.

Woodland Path to Stone Track
Woodland Path to Stone Track

Start point: 52.4323 lat, 0.6591 long
End point: 52.4262 lat, 0.6604 long

Turn left here as directed by the yellow arrow. Follower this narrower stone track winding into the trees. Follow the yellow arrows to zigzag right and then left. You will pass by the rabbit giant play sculpture on the right hand side. A little further on follow the main track as it bends left and then continues along a long straight section with tall pine trees to the left and shorter denser planting to the right.

At the next major junction, follow the yellow trail straight ahead, ignoring the white trail which goes off to the left. After a little distance, the next waymarker marks the left hand turn onto a narrower footpath through the woods. The path opens out into a small area of tall pine trees, surrounded by areas of much shorter and denser fir planting. Follow the waymarker to bend right and then straight over a wider grass track. The path comes to a staggered T-junction with a stone track.

Stone Track to Fenced Enclosure
Stone Track to Fenced Enclosure

Start point: 52.4262 lat, 0.6604 long
End point: 52.4231 lat, 0.6753 long

Turn right onto the wide stone track, and then after about 100 yards, turn left onto a grass path with thick gorse to the right. Follow the path as it gradually bends to the right. The path continues straight for a long section and then narrows as it bends to the left. Go ahead as it crosses a stone track to continue on a narrow path into the trees. After a few paces the path bends sharp left through a glade area, and then crosses another stone track before continuing into the trees.

Follow this path as it winds intricately through the tall pine forest for some distance, enjoying the wide variety of species of pine trees in this section of the forest.

Thetford Forest is the largest lowland pine forest in Britain and was created after World War I to provide a strategic reserve of timber, since the country had lost so many of its oaks and other slow-growing trees due to the war’s demand. The forest is home to a large population of hares, rabbits and game birds (including golden pheasant), as well as muntjac, roe and red deer.

The path eventually emerges at a T-junction with a stone track and a fenced enclosure ahead.

Fenced Enclosure to Cycle Path
Fenced Enclosure to Cycle Path

Start point: 52.4231 lat, 0.6753 long
End point: 52.4305 lat, 0.6707 long

Turn right onto the stone track and then almost immediately, turn left to continue with the fenced enclosure on the left. As the enclosure ends continue straight ahead to cross a narrow cycle path with a staggered fence on the right. To the right here is an area of mixed woodland – a contrast to the pine plantations that most of the walk has explored.

Continue on this wide grass ride and the yellow route will merge with the pink route (the beech trail). At the end of the young plantation on the left, turn left following the yellow waymarker. Follow the mud track as it forks right. This shaded mud path eventually merges to meet a stone cycle track.

Cycle Path to Adder Car Park
Cycle Path to Adder Car Park

Start point: 52.4305 lat, 0.6707 long
End point: 52.434 lat, 0.6631 long

Turn left to merge with the stone cycle track, taking care to look out for cyclists. Follow the stone track for some distance until you meet a major crossroads with a sign for High Lodge on the right. Continue on the yellow route straight ahead.

After some distance you will come to The Maypole (a fenced adventure seesaw) on the right. Turn right immediately after it and you will see the main lodge ahead. Continue ahead, bear left in front of the cafe to reach the tall bore pole and the adder car park beyond.

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Text and images for this walk are Copyright © 2012 by the author clairesharpuk and may not be reproduced without permission.

The information in this guide has been provided in good faith and is intended only as a guide, not a statement of fact. You are advised to check the accuracy of the information provided and should not use this guide for navigational directions nor should you rely on the accuracy of the weather forecast. You are advised to take appropriate clothing, footwear, equipment and navigational materials with you according to the current and possible weather and nature of the terrain. Always follow the country code and follow any additional warnings or instructions that may be available. Some walks may be very strenuous and you are advised to seek medical advice if you have any doubts as to your capability to complete the walk.

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