It was the vision of one man back in the 1800's, that saw the creation of Brandon Country Park and of Thetford Forest. As was fashionable in England in those days, wealthy industrialists wanted to have their own country seat and in 1820, Edward Bliss selected Brandon Hall.
Having made his wealth from selling gun flint to the army during the Napoleonic Wars, Edward set to work developing his hall, walled garden and arboretum. The arboretum grew and grew, full of exotic species from Blue Atlas Cedar to Giant Redwoods to Monkey Puzzle Trees.
In the grounds he built a small, flint knapped, gothic mausoleum surrounded by Irish Yews. This was to be the final resting place for himself and his wife but in the early 20th century they were moved to Brandon Cemetary. Today the mausoleum plays home to pipestrelle bats and reputably the ghost of Edward's nephew, Baron Boretto. Dressed in knee breaches, a deer stalker and holding a human skull lit by a candle, he is occasionally seen wandering the grounds. What, or who, is he looking for?!
When the gun flint industry started to decline Edward put his men to work planting over 1 million trees. Their endeavours created what we know today as Thetford Forest.
With over 50,000
acres of Scots and Causican Pine, Larch, Beech and Silver Birch, Thetford Forest is a wonderfully mysterious place to explore. The forest is criss-crossed with miles of walking and cycling trails. Some are suited to families, others for the more experienced hiker and cyclist.