Weird Norfolk: Have you spotted the 'terrifying' Beast of the B1112?
- Credit: Archant Library/Sam Robbins
It was a beautiful summer evening as Jake Garner set out on the long walk home from Brandon to Methwold – but as he passed dense woodland, he realised he was not alone.
Jake discovered Weird Norfolk’s stories when he set out to investigate the strange creature he saw on his walk home on July 21, 2018.
The incident had preyed on his mind for some years, and he had been unable to forget what happened to him that evening as he walked along the forest’s edge.
“I was enjoying the walk,” he told Weird Norfolk, “traffic wasn’t very busy that day and it when it was quiet I could hear the birds and field mice scuttering through the grass at the edge of the road.”
He then described something quite magical.
“I came into a clearing of a field and there was a massive stag – huge antlers, just stood there, staring back at me and then it walked off into the tall wheat,” he said.
“I got to a part of the road that dips and, as I started to walk up the hilly road, I heard something behind me. I thought it was the stag.”
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But what he saw was not a stag. It was something entirely different.
“As I turned, I saw this jet black large furry creature just disappear into the wooded area over the road – it must have been about 20ft away from me, but I saw it as clear as day, running on all fours, jet black, big, with a very furry, fluffy thick coat.
“I stopped and – I won’t lie – I was pretty terrified as I was on the stretch of road alone. I just faced back the way I was going and said to myself ‘well, that didn’t just happen…’ to settle my brain and carried on walking, now filled with fear.”
Jake’s recent internet search led him to Weird Norfolk’s stories of the Beast of the A1075, sighting just nine miles away.
Since 1986, there have been a host of eye-witness accounts of something strange lurking in the forest close to Thetford and East Wretham, along the unremarkable-sounding A1075.
Here in the Brecks, the landscape is wild. This is a place of sandstorms and heathland, the unique lunar landscape of Grime's Graves and Ice Age Pingo holes and countless thousands of twisted Scots pines, Corsican pines, oak, beech, lime, walnut and maple trees amongst thickets of gorse and carpets of leaves and needles.
It boasts its very own microclimate, is unusually dry and is a throwback to when the British Isles was covered in native forest: it is also a notable hotspot for Bigfoot or creature sightings.
This is where the wilderness meets modern life, a place where cars can be heard speeding along the A11, yet all you can see are trees.
According to records, this is one of Britain’s Bigfoot hotspots, the place where you are most likely to spot the creature which is said to hunt here: other visitors have been sent packing by stones thrown by an invisible assailant, their car shadowed by a presence just out of sight.
Often described as creature with a long snout and dark shaggy fur, some report a beast on four legs, others a creature that rears up on two legs and is at least 7ft tall.
Witnesses speak of eye shine close to trees where no creature other than one that was tall and on two legs could access, of low, throaty growls, of being followed of feeling terrified.
Bigfoot is rooted in folklore, particularly in the east of England where woodwose or wildmen can still be seen gracing churches, hairy men grasping clubs, humanoid creatures covered in hair and found living in the woods.
In June 1986, an unnamed driver made their way along the A1075 towards Thetford.
The witness spotted a large, long-haired creature with a light grey shaggy coat.
The hairy hominid had a long snout, small ears, saucer-like eyes and walked on four legs – the driver thought he had seen a huge dog and, bewildered, turned around to drive past the creature again.
On the return journey, indeed on the third return journey (the witness was curious and wanted the best view possible) the beast rose up on its hind legs like a human, but a human who was at least six, if not eight, feet tall.
The driver decided not to risk a further return visit.
A few days later, however, they returned to the same spot on the otherwise unremarkable A road and when they examined the ground close to their sighting, there were drag marks on the forest floor as if something substantial had been dragged for some distance.
The driver wondered if the creature had been disturbed as it was eating at the roadside and had subsequently dragged its prey to a quieter spot.
Twenty-one years later, in December 2007, another witness saw a similar creature in the same area, describing it as having grey hair with black patches.
This unassuming stretch of an otherwise unremarkable B-road is a veritable magnet for creatures that walk between the veil of the known and the unknown: other sightings in the area (collected by Deborah Hatswell of British Bigfoot Research) include the Thetford Forest Park Bear (1979), the Elveden Creature (2011) and the Thetford Walking Figure in the Dark (2017).
In 2009, another creature was spotted in Thetford Forest. An eyewitness said: “Myself and a friend had been camping the night before and had got up at first light. We packed up and were on the move just after sunrise.
“As we strolled along, my mate suddenly stopped and said: ‘can you see that?’ I looked over to where he was pointing and saw something looking back at us across a small clearing.
“It stood about seven foot tall and all I can describe it as is ‘not of this world’. I get the creeps when I’m camping out at night remembering it.”
Jake read the accounts but none tallied with what he saw that summer’s evening – could he have had a close encounter with the legendary Black Shuck?
“I’ve never told anyone because I don’t want to sound daft or crazy but I know what I saw,” he told us, “…and I know the fear I felt, and feel, every time I drive past there now.”
· Thetford Forest Park Bear 1979: Several witnesses reported seeing a bear on the outskirts of the nearby forest, they reported the incident to local radio and police in the area, although no known searches were ever carried out.
· The Beast of the A1075: In December 2007, 21 years after the first reported sighting, another witness saw a similar creature in the same general area. They described it as having grey hair with dark black patches.
· Thetford Norfolk Forest Park Creature Sighting 2009: Something 'not of this world' and around 7ft tall came face-to-face with a witness in a clearing.
· Elveden Baboon: In May 2011, a lorry driver reported seeing a hairy, light grey creature on all fours moving at speed through grass. It then stood on its hind legs and approached the driver, moving like an ape, before dropping back to all fours and running away.
· Thetford walking figure: After dark in June 2017, a witness saw something tall and inexplicable walking along the A1075 and crossing the lane.
· Stones thrown from the trees: Between September and October 2018, two witnesses had a range of objects thrown at their car and saw eye shine in torchlight that appeared to be at around 7ft high, ruling out a deer.
· Growls in the wood: In July 2019, a group of people heard low, throaty growls in Thetford Forest, other reports from around the same time include dogs being spooked by something apparently hiding in the near distance and someone else reported being "shadowed by something I couldn't see".