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New trail will uncover history of High Lodge at Thetford Forest thanks to grant from Heritage Lottery Fund

The Forestry Commission has been given a grant of £610, 300. Picture: Ian Burt

The Forestry Commission has been given a grant of £610, 300. Picture: Ian Burt

Archant 2017

Beneath the thousands of acres of trees at Thetford Forest lies a hidden history.

The Forestry Commission has been given a grant of £610, 300. Pictured is High Lodge in Thetford Forest. Picture: Ian BurtThe Forestry Commission has been given a grant of £610, 300. Pictured is High Lodge in Thetford Forest. Picture: Ian Burt

And to enable visitors to learn more about this heritage, a new 4.2km trail will be created at High Lodge.

People can explore how the landscape features of the area have been created - from the gunflint mining of the 18th century to the creation of the forest during the 1920s.

The Forestry Commission has been given a grant of £610, 300. Pictured at High Lodge in Thetford Forest are (L) Cioran Osborne and Richard Cullen of the East Norfolk Militia. High Lodge was the site of gunflint mines which supplied the British Army during the Napoleonic Wars. Picture: Ian BurtThe Forestry Commission has been given a grant of £610, 300. Pictured at High Lodge in Thetford Forest are (L) Cioran Osborne and Richard Cullen of the East Norfolk Militia. High Lodge was the site of gunflint mines which supplied the British Army during the Napoleonic Wars. Picture: Ian Burt

The trail is part of the Forestry Commission’s two-year project Trailing the Hidden Heritage of High Lodge, which has received a grant of £610,300 from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF).

The Forestry Commission has been given a grant of £610, 300. Pictured at High Lodge in Thetford Forest is Hannah Casey from A Business of Ferrets. High Lodge was home to Downham Warren where rabbits were farmed for meat and fur. Picture: Ian BurtThe Forestry Commission has been given a grant of £610, 300. Pictured at High Lodge in Thetford Forest is Hannah Casey from A Business of Ferrets. High Lodge was home to Downham Warren where rabbits were farmed for meat and fur. Picture: Ian Burt

The all-ability trail will include audio listening posts which will give information about the history of the site.

Two shelters will be constructed - one interpreting the wildlife of the forest and the other the management of the working forest, with the information changing with the seasons.

The Forestry Commission has been given a grant of £610, 300. Pictured at High Lodge in Thetford Forest are A Business of Ferrets working with visitors on the day. Picture: Ian BurtThe Forestry Commission has been given a grant of £610, 300. Pictured at High Lodge in Thetford Forest are A Business of Ferrets working with visitors on the day. Picture: Ian Burt

Tristram Hilborn, Forestry Commission forest management director, said: “We have got hundreds of thousands of people who visit this site and the heritage has been hidden for so long.

“The forest here is just the most recent part. This will be the first time we really understand what is here.”

MORE - How well do you know Thetford Forest? Here are 10 interesting facts

The Forestry Commission has been given a grant of £610, 300. Pictured at High Lodge in Thetford Forest is Hannah Casey from A Business of Ferrets. Picture: Ian BurtThe Forestry Commission has been given a grant of £610, 300. Pictured at High Lodge in Thetford Forest is Hannah Casey from A Business of Ferrets. Picture: Ian Burt

As part of the project, a variety of workshops will start in September involving the whole community.

These will include how to make arrowheads, how to write an archeological report and discovering the gunflint mines - which helped arm the British Army during the Napoleonic Wars.

The Forestry Commission has been given a grant of £610, 300. Pictured unveiling the plaque at High Lodge in Thetford Forest are (L) Joff Whitten from the Heritage Lottery Fund and Forest Management Director, Tristram Holborn. Picture: Ian BurtThe Forestry Commission has been given a grant of £610, 300. Pictured unveiling the plaque at High Lodge in Thetford Forest are (L) Joff Whitten from the Heritage Lottery Fund and Forest Management Director, Tristram Holborn. Picture: Ian Burt

The official launch of the project, which will cost £750,000 and has also received funding from volunteer groups and businesses, took place at the High Lodge Open Day where there were activities relating to the heritage of the site and the workshops which will be available.

The Forestry Commission has been given a grant of £610, 300. Pictured at High Lodge in Thetford Forest are William Reed (7) and Andrew Hull. Picture: Ian BurtThe Forestry Commission has been given a grant of £610, 300. Pictured at High Lodge in Thetford Forest are William Reed (7) and Andrew Hull. Picture: Ian Burt

Joff Whitten, HLF committee member for the East of England, added: “The normal visitors of High Lodge might not necessarily think about the heritage. It is just trying to make it accessible and interesting.”

Construction on the trail will start in October for six months.

The formal opening of the trail will coincide with the 100th anniversary of the Forestry Commission in 2019.

For more about the project or to register an interest visit High Lodge Heritage

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