It always feels somewhat strange pulling up the blinds on the first day in a new location. It’s as if the brain is preconditioned to expect the view you have looked at on the previous site, there is that moment when you think, “Where are we?” and then everything kicks into place.
Opening the blinds this morning and looking out at The King’s Forest was a very welcome sight. So it is not long before I pull on my boots and take the dogs for an early morning walk. For some, my early morning walk would count as a day’s walking, I usually cover two to three miles and view it as the starter to the main course which will be served up later. Today I am out for an hour and cover the best part of three miles just wandering around in the woods and listening to the birds.
Lynnie has decided on a trip to Bury St Edmunds. I am interested in visiting the city, but not on a Saturday, Sunday afternoon when the shops are shut is more to my liking! After dropping Lynnie off I return to Hall Farm to start my walk. Over the years we have stayed on a number of sites with good access to walks, but Hall Farm has to rank amongst the best. It is right on the fringe of The King’s Forest with hundreds of acres to roam about in.
There are so many different routes through the forest that it is difficult to describe mine, my aim is to walk in a westerly, or north westerly direction to join the Weststow Road Track. This is a major route through the forest and both the St Edmunds Way and the Icknield Way follow it.
On reaching the Weststow Road track I turn right and head northeasterly. This is a broad track and from the occasional bits of litter I guess it is used more than the smaller rides I have been walking through to reach it. It still shocks me that some folk think it is acceptable to leave cans and bottles by the side of a track.
I stay on Weststow Road until I reach the magnificent beech lined Queen Mary’s Avenue and follow this towards the B1106.
Just before reaching the road I reach a small monument with the inscription: “This stone commemorates the Silver Jubilee of King George V. The Forestry Commissioners began in 1935 to afforest The Kings Forest and to plant with beeches Queen Mary’s Avenue which follows the course of the Icknield Way”.
From here I walk north along a track for a few yards before crossing the road to join the Icknield Way as it continues diagonally across an arable field. This is a Green Lane, there are deep ruts and unfortunately some drivers seem to think it is acceptable to avoid these by driving over recently planted crops.
Entering trees at the edge of the field there is a five ways crossing of paths, I take the south-easterly route following a track between arable fields. This is way-marked for the Angles Way. I have not previously come across the Angles Way, a 93 mile trail between Great Yarmouth and Thetford following the Norfolk / Suffolk county boundary.
Continuing across another field I soon reach the outskirts of The King’s Forest and join a track, the Elveden Road running along the edge of the forest. In the fields there are a couple of hares and I soon see others. Over the next couple of miles I see more hares in one place than I can ever recall seeing, these are wonderful creatures and it is good to see a bit of a resurgence in their numbers.
On reaching a thatched house, which according to the map is named Happi Holme, I turn right into woodland called Rubbinghouse Covert.
On reaching a track I turn left and then immediately right to continue once again on the forest edge. In the field to my left are deer; some scatter quickly whilst others appear confident of their camouflage against the field.
After passing Balloon Barn Farm on my left I take a track on the right that soon heads through Blake’s Spinney then crosses an arable field before heading across a field by pig farrowing pens to reach Wordwell Hall.
From here it is a case of heading through the barns and past the Shepherd’s Hut back to the caravan site. My walk has covered over ten miles; I have seen one other person and loads of wildlife. Perfect walking as far as I am concerned.
To follow our walk you will need Ordnance Survey Outdoor Explorer Map 229 –Thetford Forest in The Brecks
24th March 2018
© Two Dogs and an Awning (2018)