High Lodge trail reveals the hidden heritage of Thetford Forest
A heritage trail at High Lodge, in Thetford Forest, was opened last week by the Lord Lieutenant of Suffolk, Clare, Dowager Countess of Euston.
The Hidden Heritage of High Lodge project consists of 1km, 3km and 4.2km trails through the forest explaining the landscape’s history, wildlife and forest management through an interactive touch screen, audio listening posts, and sheltered displays.
In her opening speech, Lady Euston said: “I come here probably more regularly than most as I have 12 grandchildren,
“It is just wonderful, this is such a treasure, I know a lot of people in East Anglia appreciate High Lodge but if you go to other parts of England you will not find anything like this and I always think what marks it out is the enormous love and affection the volunteers have for the forest, you have all worked so hard, this wouldn’t have happened otherwise”
The Friends of Thetford Forest, which worked with Forestry England, said its volunteers gave 4,326 hours to the project, in 48 workshops, day schools and events.
These included assisting with archaeological digs, taking part in wildlife surveys, finding out the history of warrening in the area and exploring the track ways and historic routes of High Lodge.
The volunteers’ information and findings is used within many of the displays around the route.
Alan Spidy, vice-chairman of the Friends, said: “It is something we have whole-heartedly supported in the background,
“It is just fantastic how the trail brings together the history of Thetford Forest, going back thousands of years, ties it in with what is going now, as well as being very inclusive to allow people who find it harder to access the forest to do so. These are some of the most exciting things about it.”
The surface of all the routes are suitable for pushchairs, wheelchairs and mobility scooters, with benches and perches situated at 100m intervals.
Lady Euston also said she was sure that the trail and the story of how it came about would even please the royal household.
She said; “I always let Her Majesty know what I have been up to and give her a little report and I am absolutely sure that this is something she will enjoy hearing about.”
For more details about the Hidden Heritage of High lodge trail, go to www.forestryengland.uk/high-lodge/heritage-trail-high-lodge.