Thetford Forest, Norfolk

Thetford Forest, Norfolk

Thetford Forest
Footpath at Sunset in the Forest, Norfolk, UK

Managed by the Forestry Commission, Thetford Forest is a 47,000 acres

man-made woodland. The largest lowland pine forest in Britain. Created in the 1920s to provide timber after the First World War decimated the country of its slow-growing Oak and other trees. The first trees were hand planted by hundreds of volunteers and managed by the Forestry Commission.

Located in the north of Suffolk and the south of Norfolk, Thetford Forest offers peace and tranquillity even on it’s busiest days. Whether you prefer to walk or cycle the forest has many options and plenty of space.

Amanita muscaria, the fly agaric,
Amanita muscaria, the fly agaric

Nik and I spend a blissful week exploring this beautiful forest Mid-September. This was not one of our usual adventures where we go from town to town finding out as much as we could. This week was for us and the dogs to recharge all of our batteries and just chill. We hoped for good weather, fresh fungi to photograph and long relaxing walks in the forest. Other than that we had no expectations. 

Our campsite was on the Norfolk side of the forest, not far from Mundford. We often go on an adventure in September, booking last minute and have no trouble finding a campsite. Anywhere we choose to go. Not this time though. Every site was filled with people desperate to get away and forget the pandemic, I guess. So we consider ourselves very lucky to have booked at all.

We only had to walk out of our door to find ourselves in woodland. It was the perfect location for us to enjoy a rather more laid back holiday than usual. The weather was more than kind to us whilst we were there. A couple of days were so warm that we couldn’t have gone anywhere if we’d wanted to because the dogs would have suffered.

Lynford Lake
Lynford Lake 

With in the forest is Lynford Arboretum and Lake & Lynford Water. We couldn’t come all this way without doing a little exploring on the cooler days. Fed by the River Wissey, Lynford Water is an area of flooded gravel pits managed by the Forestry Commission and includes a sandy beach. In 2002 the partial remains of 11 Wooly Mammoth were found at the site.

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We wandered around the water, following footpaths through the stunning landscape with beautiful wildflowers and butterflies. Of course, another reason for this particular holiday was to give Nik the chance to play with his new camera. And chasing butterflies is one of his favourite past times. 

The water’s edge was also a good place for Nik to practice photographing our not so well trained dogs with his new camera. Which he intends to use when photographing future piratedog.co.uk client’s pets.

There were families picnicking and children splashing at the sandy beach beside the water so we followed along a path that took us to a quieter spot for our lunch. It looked very much like this area was used more for bird watching. The whole area was beautiful, with little beach areas, nature watching areas, walks and woodland to explore. I’m sure there was much more to see and explore but we also wanted to take a look at Lynford Arboretum which was just across the road from our parking spot.

Green Man, Lynford Arboretum
Green Man carved into a dead tree trunk, Lynford Arboretum.

Lydford Arboretum is an 8km circular walk around a man-made lake and through woodland. Throughout the walk, you will encounter many unusual tree species from all around the world. 

We were pleasantly surprised by what we found here. And could have easily spend an entire day and still have felt that there was more to see. We walked along many of the paths that revealed all the stunning and sometimes very old trees. Met the Green Man who had been carved into an old tree trunk. I’m pretty sure we only did half of the lake-side walk. Because got distracted when we did find a positively stunning spot opposite Lynford Hall. We chose to sit here and have a snack whilst Nik spent the whole time taking hundreds of photos of the house and its reflection in the lake.

By the time we left that spot, we were starting to think about how much further Ella could walk. So we turned back and followed a path that took us through woodland. Here we found the agility equipment. If you live in the area and you want to teach your dogs agility, this is fantastic fun.

Coccinellidae, ladybird

Thetford Forest has so many places to explore that if we had been there on a working holiday we would have been out every day finding all the little places to tell you about. We weren’t though, we were actually indulging in a proper holiday. 

We had the weather we had hoped for. Found lots of fungi, although, we feel that we were a little early. Only by a few weeks, for the full display to have grown. Nik had lots of fun getting to grips with his new camera and he did manage to get some stunning photos of the dogs.

We highly recommend a holiday in Thetford Forest, so much to see and do, or just indulge in some relaxing walks.

For more blogs on our adventures in Norfolk, click HERE
For more blogs on our adventures in the UK, click HERE

Our favourite photos of the week.
Click the images below to enlarge

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