High Lodge, Thetford Forest is cared for and managed by the Forestry Commission and attracts around 450,000 people per year. Located between the border of Norfolk and Suffolk; an area covering 393sq miles, it is steeped in history and attracts many species of birds and animals; making it a popular destination to visit.
On site there are cycling and walking trails, Go Ape Tree Top Adventure, cycle hire with shop, a café and large children’s adventure play area.
There is level access from the main entrance to:Oak Lodge Information PointInformation PointThe CaféWild Play Adventure Play AreaGo ApeLookout Archery Forest Live/ConcertsPump trackThurston Leisure
There is level access from the car park to:Green Area
Travel by public transport
High Lodge, Thetford Forest is situated between Thetford and Brandon on the B1107. Brown tourist signs are present from the main roads. If you are planning to drive, High Lodge is less than six miles from Thetford, one mile from Brandon and accessible if you are traveling from the A11 either from Norwich, which is 36 miles or Cambridge at 37 miles.
If you are planning to arrive on foot, please be advised that there is no designated walking or cycling route from Thetford or Brandon.
From the roadside on the B1107 large banners advertising High Lodge and the activities we have to offer onsite entice and direct you into the main entrance.
As you follow the tarmac roadway you will approach a set of barriers, which will automatically open as your number plate is recorded. High Lodge operates an ANPR (Automatic Number Plate Recognition) system. Please ensure you have your car registration noted for when you are ready to leave as you will need to enter this into a machine to calculate your stay length. We recommend using your phone to take a picture of your number plate.
Travel by taxi
Getting around inside
Visual Impairment - General Information
Ticket/ information desk
The Information Point is the main reception. The telephone number is 0300 067 4401. Access across the site is all at ground level and there are no doors to the Information Point. Instead, staff service is provided through a large open window. There is a low level counter making it easier to assist and interact with wheelchair users and younger visitors during their visit. A hearing loop is also available. The area is well lit with fluorescent lights above and on the side of the building. Staff members are happy to assist visitors on request.
Information for the site, maps and leaflets are available from this point. The Forestry Commission will consider all requests to make publications available in alternative formats; however this would need to be arranged in advance of visiting the site. The Diversity team can be contacted on 0300 067 5046 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Site Entry payments can also be made here with cash and card. All day tickets can be purchased in advance online at - www.forestry.gov.uk/highlodge and then the ‘planning your visit’ page. There are no ATM cash machines on site; however Bike Art, the Café and Go Ape! do have credit card facilities.
Annual membership can also be purchased at the Information Point and is currently priced at £64 for a year (correct as of the 23.09.2020). This allows unlimited access to High Lodge by one car and includes local and national offers. There are also membership schemes for minibuses and coaches. For more information please call the Information Point number above.
High Lodge also offers the free use of a mobility scooter and self-propelled manual wheelchair, which was kindly donated by Friends of Thetford Forest (www.fotf.org.uk). It is recommended to pre-book in advance. Details of how to book and further information can be found on the High Lodge website under ’Planning your visit’, - ‘facilities for the less able.’’ (www.forestry.gov.uk/highlodge)
Tarmac paths leave the Information Point, linking the Café, patio, Bike Art (cycle hire and shop) and Go Ape (Tree Top Adventure), which makes wheelchair and especially mobility scooter access easier. As you leave the patio and explore the Wildplay area, pathways become more uneven and are typical forest tracks, which at times can be very wet, muddy and access can be difficult.
The Oak Lodge building is often used. This is a separate single level building that is located around 300m away from the Cafe. There is a car park immediately outside Oak Lodge, which is made up of small ‘pea shingle’ over a hard tarmac surface. The main access is via a low level ramp; however there are two other entrances and exits that require a step up/down of approx. 20cm. The floor within is wooden with door mats. Toilets are provided and the ladies and accessible toilet has lino flooring and handrails. The door openings are 80cm. Lighting is provided overhead by typical household light bulbs and fluorescent strip lights in certain rooms. Outside there are extensive grassed areas to enjoy surrounded by tall beech trees and lime trees, which offer shelter and some degree of privacy.
Male and female toilets are located either side of the Information Point. Both facilities have low level counters, sensor taps and step up stools which can help all ages and capabilities. There are hand rails and baby change facilities in one cubicle in each set of toilets. The toilets are well lit by overhead fluorescent tubes and LED’s.
Next to the female toilet block is a 24hr accessible toilet. This has a wide access manual opening door (80cm opening). The toilet is 48cm from floor to seat with an overhead small fluorescent light. There is a space of 80cm to the right of the toilet for wheelchairs and mobility scooters. Inside there is an alarm cord, sensor tap, and wide handle flusher, vertical and horizontal hand rails next to the toilet and sink and a baby change facility. The sink is 70cm from the floor.
Staff are more than happy to help; please ask at the Information Point.
Place to eat and drink
The Café is visible from the car parks and Information Point. Smooth tarmac paths connect to the Café which is located between Bike Art and Go Ape!
The Café/Panty is run by Churchill Catering that offers a range of homemade dishes, cakes and refreshments. Gluten free and dairy products are usually catered for and staff are happy to discuss dietary requirements. Food orders are made at the counter and customers then take their purchases to their table. For those who need assistance, table service is provided upon request.
Menus and food service information are displayed by a combination of black boards, plastic signs and wall posters. The toilets are signposted and located along a corridor wide enough for a mobility scooter or wheelchair. Lighting is provided at high level by typical household light bulbs. Due to the nature of the buildings design (Traditional Suffolk Black Barn) the illumination can appear to be darker than usual at certain times of day/year. Large windows are tinted but still allow daylight in. There is a TV within and subtitles can be asked to be on.
Outdoor seating is provided with wooden benches suitable for wheelchair users. The table height is 70cm with leg clearance of 66cm. The seat height is 43cm. There are fixed low level seats provided within the courtyard between Bike Art and the Pantry. The seat height is 50cm. Two large umbrellas provide an undercover eating option.
A shallow ramp leads in to the entrance to the Café/Pantry. There are large wooden manual opening doors and the flooring throughout the Café and Pantry is wooden with shallow pile firm doormats at the doorways. The tables and chairs are wooden and the height of the tables is 73cm with leg clearance of 69cm on the round tables and 61cm on the rectangle tables.
Getting around outside
Designated Walking Trail
The Pine trail is a short, gentle amble through giant pine trees. This wide, flat trail mainly consisting of earth and stone tracks is suitable for mobility scooters and some manual wheelchairs. Trail length is 1 mile.
Designated Walking Trail
The Fir trail is a longer route that ventures further into the forest. The ground conditions vary from surfaced sections to typical forest conditions of earth and exposed roots, which at times can be wet and muddy. The trail narrows in places and gives the opportunity to find some quiet spots where wildlife can be seen. The trail length is 3 miles and is flat.
Designated Walking Trail
The Beech trail connects to the Fir trail as an option to extend your walk by a further 3 miles to 6 miles in total. This trail takes you through Risbeth Wood and passes Thetford Warren Lodge, built by the Prior of Thetford in 1400.
Designated Walking Trail
Designated Walking Trail
With funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund, there is now a trail at High Lodge which provides access for everyone into the forest.
With a smooth surface suitable for all abilities and in all seasons, the trail is a circular 4.2km with short cuts at 1km and 3kms; benches or rest perches at 100m intervals and two shelters.
The trail was constructed as part of the ‘Trailing the Hidden Heritage of High Lodge’ Project which also included research by volunteers to reveal and interpret the four thousand years of landscape history beneath the trees.
Take the Heritage Trail to:
Explore the hidden history of High Lodge.
Use the Touchscreen Monitor to see how High Lodge looked in the past.
Listen to Stories of the Landscape at the Audio Panels.
Find out about the wildlife and how the forest is managed for timber production in the two shelters.
The main grassed area outside the Information Point is often referred to as ‘The Green’. This is where visitors are able to play games, picnic or relax. The Green has a path either side and makes access easier for wheelchairs and mobility scooters to enter the Green. The grassed area is worn in places and bare earth is visible. It can be bumpy, sandy and wet and challenging in a wheelchair. There are a few picnic tables on the Green, however there are several benches around the edges and customers can bring their own if they prefer.
Shepherd Cycle Trail
The Shepherd trail is identified for families and beginners. This is a ‘green’ marked route and is classified as a forest road, which are wide open tracks consisting of firm earth and stone suitable for all types of bikes, tagalongs, trailers and child seats. The gradient is mostly flat and the length is 5 miles with a short cut option reducing it to 3.5 miles.
Beater Cycle Trail
The Beater trail is marked as ‘Blue’ and is a total of 11 miles with a 6 mile short loop and is not recommended for those under the age of 12. It is mostly a single track trail winding between obstacles of root and rock. Not suitable for trailers, tagalongs and child seats.
Lime Burner Cycle Trail
The Lime Burner is identified as difficult and challenging trail. This is marked as ‘Red’ and it is a single and narrow track. The surface is mainly firm earth tracks with some stone sections with tricky descents and drop offs. The length of the Lime Burner is 10 miles and not recommended for those under 16years of age. Not suitable for trailers, tagalongs and child seats.
Wild Play Adventure Play Area
‘WildPlay’ is an area of play equipment for children of all ages and abilities. It is located approximately 50m from the patio and main thoroughfare. It is easily accessible by a tarmac path and short section across firm earth, and not far from the café.
A large red overhead banner identifies the entrance to the ‘WildPlay’ area.
Underneath the banner are information boards and a colorful copy of the site map detailing where the different pieces of play equipment are located.
There are over 50 pieces of play equipment with a number of them suitable for those who are less able. The ‘birds nest swing’ is just one piece of the play equipment that can be used. This is located close to the Pyramid slide. The ‘Giant Sea-saw’ is suitable for those who are more experienced and adventurous. This moves when weight is placed on either end of the platform, when one side of the sea-saw is lowered, wheelchair users are able to use the large ramp to move up, over and across. Assistance may be required.
Once within the play area the surface is mostly earth and soft forest ground, which can be wet and muddy at times. There are some exposed roots as well as some surfaced areas, especially on the Sculpture Play trail. However, this can also be wet and affected by leaves and debris. This trail is accessible by mobility scooters and some manual wheelchairs. Assistance may be required to overcome some sections.
The Sound Trail can be found at the furthest point from the Information Point (approx. 350m). A variety of musical instruments can be found on the trail, such as a xylophone, sound cushions, windpipes and dance chimes, with the latter two items both at ground level. This multi-sensory trail is an interactive and engaging part of the Wildplay collection. Adults and children can explore and be creative experimenting with sight, touch, and sound. The trail condition is mostly firm earth and stone and access from the Information Point can be achieved by a combination of tarmac paths and stone surfaced tracks without having to enter on to wet, muddy tracks that may be present within the main Wildplay area.
Go Ape! is around 150m away from the Information Point beyond the Café and is connected by smooth tarmac paths. Seating is available within this area. This popular course attracts a number of visitors to site. Go Ape! Tree Top Adventure is a physical and challenging course that requires participants to wear a harness and then climb, overcome different obstacles and use zip wires. It takes between 2 -3 hours to complete. This course can accommodate individuals who may be less able or have mental health needs. It is recommended to visit the course prior to making a booking. It is important that the participants can lift themselves and move around the course. For visitors who have learning difficulties or are visual impaired there is an option for two responsible adults to guide or supervise a participant around the course. Visitors with prosthetic limbs have taken part on the Go Ape! course and any additional needs can be accommodated with no extra cost of the equipment. Tree Top Junior is another shorter option to accommodate younger participants or those who may not have the fitness to complete the larger course.
Go Ape! Forest Segway is another product that can facilitate customers with special needs. These electric motorized machines with two wheels are ridden through the forest on specific trails. Training and partial supervision is provided. For more details on all the Go Ape! Products please visit their website under the heading ‘what is Go Ape’ then ‘Can I Go Ape’. There you will find the heading ‘Do you have any special needs’.
Lookout Archery - provides a complete archery experience for beginners to intermediate archers, offering ‘have a go' sessions but also welcoming group booking for Birthdays, School visits and family days out.
Lookout Archery is located in a cabin near the ‘sound trail’ around 350m away from the Information Point. Access is via a wide pathway that passes the entrance to the ‘WildPlay’ adventure playground. This is approximately 2 meters wide and is tarmac, easy accessible for wheelchair users. All of the instructors actively shoot for local clubs and comply with all aspects of safety and tuition to Grand National Archery Society level. Adult and children bows are provided along with all necessary safety equipment and varying ranged targets. Customers with special needs can be encouraged to have a go; as long as you are comfortable holding a bow. Visually impaired and blind visitors are able to participate. For more information or to book your group archery experiences you can call 07729 402009 or visit www.facebook.com/Lookout-Archery-534143716622519/timeline/?ref=ts
Forest Live concerts are held at High Lodge each year where up to 10,000 concert goers can enjoy an open air concert. The events take place on the large grassed area in front of the Information Point, approximately 50m away.
Accessible parking is provided in both ‘Badger’ and ‘Adder’ car parks. Wide pathways and a smooth tarmac surface merge down to the customer entrance.
An accessible viewing platform is provided on a first come, first served basis.
This platform is currently via the Oak Lodge path in front of ‘Badger’ car park with approximately 60m across grass, which can be wet and bumpy in certain conditions.
Accessible toilets are located next to the viewing platform inside the concert arena. For those who are visually impaired guide dogs are welcome in the arena, more details can be found on the Forest Live website. Those with a disability who have a carer will need to purchase tickets for the event and then contact Box Office to discuss having a complimentary ticket for their registered carer. However, fees may apply for a carer or companion ticket for the event. Customer relations can be contacted on 03000 680 400 or via email on email@example.com
This off-road mountain bike skills learning area is a closed loop of rolling features and tightly bermed corners. As you gradually build your skills, speed and confidence you will be able to ride the loop without pedalling, gaining speed and momentum by 'pumping' the bumps and corners.
At least one of the following activities will be on site during weekends, school and bank holidays, subject to fair weather and demand:
Bungee Trampolines - Jump as high as the tree tops and have a go at a somersault if you dare – suitable for adults and children!
Land Zorbing – Hone your skills as you roll around a purpose built arena on your own or increase the energy and battle with a friend.
For more information, please visit the Thurston Leisure website or contact them via email.
Customer care support
We also have a mobility scooter availible for hire, you can book it in advance by calling 03000674401
Emergency evacuation procedures
There is a emergency pull chord in the 24 hour disabled toilet.
Customer care support
For imformation provided in different formats, please email firstname.lastname@example.org