This pleasant walk in Thetford Forest, the largest lowland pine forest in the country that was entirely man-made and planting only started in 1922 to develop a strategic timber reserve, can be done as one figure of eight walk or two separate shorter walks.

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THETFORD WARREN

Start: At the Thetford Warren car park off the B1107 by a rough lay-by (about one mile north-west of the A11 roundabout and immediately after the golf course)

Map: Explorer 229 G/R TL 842841

Distance: 8.25 miles (or 5 miles and 3.25 miles).

Public Transport: There is a bus along the A1107 from Thetford to Brandon Monday to Saturday

Timetables: 0871 2002233, travelineeastanglia.co.uk

This pleasant walk in the Thetford Forest from Tony Smith can be done as one figure of eight walk or two separate shorter walks. The Thetford Forest is the largest lowland pine forest in the country. It was entirely man-made and planting only started in 1922 to develop a strategic timber reserve.

The longer walk goes through the forest on a wide track and comes back near the Little Ouse River that cuts across the middle of the forest. The shorter walk follows paths around Thetford Warren. At the entrance to the wood stands a curious ruin, Thetford Warren Lodge, a two storey hunting lodge built by the Prior of Thetford for his rabbit warrener around 1400.

There is nowhere for refreshments on this walk.

■ For the longer walk, return to the road at the entrance to the car park and turn left along the rough lay-by to its end. Then cross the road and take the path just beyond the ‘private’ sign that marks the boundary of the golf course. Follow the winding path through the trees heading for a straight break ahead. Cross an old fence line and continue to the bottom of the valley passing tree number 56 on the left. At the crossing track turn right then, at the next crossing path, go left. Then ignore two tracks on the right and continue ahead on this wide track. Keep ahead when the track bends left where there is also a track on the right.

■ Ignore the next crossing track and continue ahead downhill and then ahead again beside a cleared area. Ignore another crossing path. There are now good views on the right across the valley. Go over another crossing track, bend left with the track when another track comes in from the right, and then go across another track. Continue past an enclosure for a water source for Anglian Water. Then go over the next crossing track with a white sign saying 16 on the left and metal buildings visible to the right.

■ On reaching the next crossing track at a sandy area turn right onto a grassy track. Turn right at a crossing track and continue ahead ignoring paths on the right and with the Little Ouse River now on the left beyond the fen. Go past Reed Fen on the left and keep left as the track forks. Then go along the other side of the cleared area (passed earlier) keeping ahead. Then turn left onto the crossing track walked earlier and, ignoring a track on the left, continue to the next junction and go right. Then, at the next crossing track, go left. Continue between the fence posts and on ahead to reach the road. Cross over to the lay-by and turn left along it to return to the car park.

■ For the shorter walk, go through the line of wooden bollards at the back of the car park, heading away from the road, and follow the rough path keeping the post and wire fence on the left. Continue past Warren Lodge on the right and into the trees. Pass through more wooden bollards then, after 20m and at a marker post, turn right. Turn left at a T-junction of paths. Then, after 100m, turn right along a clear track. At a crossing track with marker posts, keep ahead into a green track. The track bears leftwards at the bottom of a slope.

■ Go straight over a metalled drive and on along a stony track. Keep ahead over a grass crossing track. At another junction (with a ‘no entry’ sign for cyclists), turn left past tree 26. Turn left along the metalled drive with a clear (replanted) area on the right. Continue leftwards along the drive into the trees again until the drive turns left (by a ‘caution road merges’ sign). Here, go straight ahead past a pink ‘beech trail’ marker and between posts, then up a grassy slope.

■ Keep ahead at a path junction then, at a T-junction of paths, turn right. After 200m, at the next junction, turn left along a track with a large cleared and replanted area on the right. Keep ahead at a crossing track into the trees again. Then, at a wide green crossing track, turn left along a lovely avenue of beech trees. At its end, with the boundary fence ahead, turn left along a dirt path. Finally, at a crossing path by a marker post, turn right through the wooden bollards. Go past Warren Lodge and back along the path to the car park.

Join The Ramblers

The Ramblers is Britain’s walking charity which has been working to encourage more people to take up walking and to safeguard footpaths and the countryside for 75 years.

Whether you’re an old hand or a complete beginner, the organisation can help you get the best out of walking through its network of local groups.

The Norwich Group has been established for more than 35 years and was the first group in the Norfolk Area of the Ramblers Association. Non-members are welcome to join all walks in national festivals and some special events and programmes. Most regular walks are intended for Ramblers members, but you are welcome to attend two or three walks on a try-out basis.

t For more information about the Ramblers’ Association call 01508 538654 or visit: www.ramblers.org.uk

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