Thetford – Everything you want to know and more
Time to give you a rundown of one of an English underrated hotspot for tourism, Thetford Forest. Some go there for a peaceful day looking at wonderful scenery others see it as an opportunity to become a thrill seeker. No matter what you want to visit the Thetford Forest for I will be covering it in this article. I will be talking about High Lodge itself and some great places around Thetford.
Name: Thetford Forest, High Lodge
Address: High Lodge, Thetford Forest, Brandon IP27 0AF
Cost of Entry: Free ( Go Ape, Bike hire, Parking is not free, see below for details)
Time Spent here: 1 hour – day
Open: All year round
Peaceful side of Thetford Forest
If you are looking for a day out with the family or the dogs, High Lodge is the place for you! Let me explain some of the great things you can do there if you want to have a relaxing day!
Walking and dogs
Dogs are allowed in High Lodge, So there is nothing to rush home for! Great space for them to run around too. Just be aware if you are still walking your dog after dark there are places in the forest where they train Sled dogs. Most of you guys won’t have to worry about that due to the fact the car park normally closes before dark.
There are great routes to walk around, Short walks to massive which take a few hours
Cafe and Picnics
Why not take a packed lunch, go for a good old fashioned picnic. This is a great way of saving some money as well as making your time a little more enjoyable.
But can’t be bothered with packing food and drink, there is a Cafe on site and the prices are too bad either. I recommend the hot chocolate!
Good to know stuff
Before I move on to the more thrill-seeking stuff you can do at Thetford I want to talk about boring stuff that you really should know before you travel down to Thetford.
This is one of the biggest things that puts people off of Visting Thetford Forest, the car parking. Let me tell you about the negatives and then give you advice on how to avoid these problems
Car parking fees
Car parking does cost a lot…
This is a killer, but is there a way of getting free parking, Yes.
There are free parking spaces outside the High Lodge on the main road but I would expect these to be full! Even on a winter day, these places were full. Also probably not the safest option
The other option to get free parking is to hire a bike for over 2 hours. It won’t give you free parking that day, but it will give you free parking next time (this is if they are still running that promotion, but they have been doing this for years.)
Some, if not all of the money of the parking goes into maintaining the park and Forest so, its not always a bad thing. The last option you have is to get a Discovery pass (£64) that will let you park for the year.
The reason why the parking fee won’t drop (or they don’t need to lower the price) is that the demand is so dam high. If you want a parking space you need to get there early!
Out of season
Things don’t stop at Thetford because of a bit of snow
Another tip I can give you is the fact, Thetford forest is open all year round. Yes its most popular in the summertime but its a great place to go on a winters day. Especially after some snow. Breathtaking views are available all year round and you don’t have to fight over car parking in the winter!
Going in the winter can make some of the Activities below a lot more enjoyable due to fewer people about. The mountain biking is a little better when muddy!
Bring a Bottle
I recommend bringing a bottle if you are going to Thetford due to the fact you will need some water on a lot of the activities that are available. Save yourself money and get a bottle instead of using plastic, There are places to fill up at the forest like outside the cafe.
Lively things to do in Thetford Forest
Time to really sell Thetford forest and make the parking cost worth it!
This is what I want to talk the most about, Cycling but more mountain biking. If you haven’t been or heard of Thetford forest and are not sure what you should do then this is for you! Brillant routes for all ages, ability, and fitness.
Bring your own
You can bring your own bike down to the Forest, no fees to pay (just parking) and £1 if you want a map(but you don’t need one, The routes are labeled very well). This is the choice of many that have their own bikes.
But I must stress if you take your own bike down the harder tracks beware its not kind on your bike. Even Though when I last cycled the hardest track I saw a man on a Road racing bike, I would not suggest this as it would be extremely dangerous and would suggest good mountain bikes only.
Bike hire is available at Bike Art. They sell many different parts for bikes as well as selling complete bikes, These bikes are very high quality and out of my price range.
The hire price for a bike at Thetford Forest Isn’t too bad. At the time of my last visit, it was £15 for 2 hours or £20 for 3 and a partial refund if you return before the next hour. This also includes a helmet, map, and aforementioned free parking for next time.
I stupidly forgot to pack gloves for a bike on a cold winter day, I wouldn’t do this if I was you. Make sure you pack a pair before you leave as my gloves cost me a whopping £26 for new ones.
There are 3 different routes available at Thetford Forest, Green (Easy), Blue (Moderate) Red(Difficult). All of the routes are different sizes and suited to different people.
Green (easy) Shepherd Trail
This is a track for beginners and the tracks are wide and mainly flat.
The track is 8km (5miles) but only 5and half km (3 and a half miles) for the shortcut.
You normally find families on this track having a nice stroll through the forest. This track is the only one Appropriate for most bikes including Tagalongs, trailers and child seats.
Blue (moderate) Beater Trail
This track is for people with a good knowledge of riding a bike due to its winding routes and going through the trees.
The track is 18km (11 miles) and only 10km (6miles) for the shortcut. This track is the longest and has some basic off-road bits.
Red (difficult) Lime Burner Trail
This track is for people with very good knowledge of mountain biking, It is extremely fun and has slopes curves and the odd dodging trees and is the home of the Beast
The track is 16km (10 miles)
This area is only 16 years old and older and is crazy, you can skip this area if you want. and I would suggest it if you found the course before it was too scary or hard as the beast is an area where you hang on and hope. You have to dodge trees and go down slopes. Its the same as going down 5 Black Pits.
Black (severe) Pits
These are not routes unlike the others, these are just pits or holes. But these are not easy to go down or even up. I personally wimped out of these and I don’t have the fitness to get back up the other side. Being 17 stone, Unfit. Personally, I should off even done the red route but I managed it with a lot of stopping.
Want to hang off trees using nothing but ropes you strap on yourself? Yes, you have to clip yourself to every tree yourself and there are many obstacles like zip lines, floating steps, and swings. It is great fun, And On my last visit to a Go-Ape someone asked if anyone has ever died on the trees at Go-Ape and the reply was ONE person… But he had a heart attack.
I don’t want to put you off, It is a lot of fun. But it’s not best for people that are scared of heights. There are Segways available for a cruise around the bottom if you are scared of heights.
Children (10-15) – £25
Mini-Course for Young Children (1 Meter 3ft 3 inches) £18
Forest Segway- £35
Other Things to do At Thetford Forest
There are many other things, Probably things I have missed too, There are running races, archery and pony rides.
In the summer there are even concerts too!
If you are wanting some good food outside of the Forest and Don’t want to travel to far then, Personally I recommend The Warrener.
Great food, cheap prices. When Went there they had an 8.99 deal for two mains.
The only problem we had was the wait for the bill and paying nearly took half hour!
If you enjoyed this article on Thetford Forest then make sure you check out more of the Funny Backpacker. Check out his website funnybackpacker.com