The Vision for the Project
The heritage of High Lodge understood, cared for and celebrated by communities with the knowledge, skills and opportunities to help manage and enjoy it, sustaining a landscape that is accessible to all, as a working forest that is also culturally and naturally rich and beautiful.
Summary of the Project's Achievements
The project has created an all-ability multi-user trail through Thetford Forest at High Lodge to explore, reveal and interpret its four thousand years of landscape history.
The trail, 4.2 kilometres, is acessible to everyone as it has a smooth surface, benches and rest perches and two shelters. With short cuts at 1km and 3kms, it is suitable for families and less experienced cyclists and those with disabilities.
Having received training in research skills, volunteers have explored the landscape features which make up the heritage of High Lodge. Their work has contributed to the interpretation which shows how people have shaped the landscape, from prehistoric wildwood clearance to medieval rabbit farming; from gunflint mining in the eighteenth century to the creation of Thetford Forest in the twentieth and how its present-day management balances the needs of timber production with those of wildlife and recreation.
The Project is delivering a range of benefits for heritage, people and communities.
For Heritage, the project has provided:
- information about the heritage of High Lodge for the first time as a result of archaeological investigation and archival research.
- better management of the heritage features as a result of increased knowledge and greater awareness of their significance.
- information about the natural heritage of High Lodge as a result of wildlife surveys at each season.
- better management of habitats for wildlife as a result of increased knowledge and greater awareness of species density and distribution.
For People, the project has provided:
- access to the forest by means of an all-ability, multi-user trail which will enable everyone to experience the forest environment in all seasons and weathers.
- interpretation of the heritage features on the trail with a virtual past touch screen; audio listening posts; a downloadable trail leaflet and information panels with seasonal themes to engage and interest all ages and abilities.
- training in new skills, with training workshops covering archaeological, archival research, wildlife identification and visitor management skills.
- opportunities to participate in activities to discover 'the hidden heritage' with forty-six day schools and special events.
- learning materials and activities for schools and further education students.
- a new 'heritage destination' and new activities for special interest groups.