The Hidden Heritage of High Lodge

High Lodge from the 1950s

After the Second World War, High Lodge was the Beat Office for this part of Thetford Forest.

The Forest was - and still is- divided into compartments and a 'Beat' was made up of several of these. There were eighteen beats in the Forest and a Beat Forester was in charge of each with responsibility for the trees and for the gangs of forest workers.

Each beat had it's own office. The High Lodge beat office was in one of the larger huts left from the Labour Camp in the 1930s, chosen because it was divided into a series of rooms and there was a fireplace to provide much-needed warmth in winter.

The Beat Office
The Beat Office

Some of the other huts were used as a hostel for forestry workers, one was donated to Santon Downham village for use as the village hall.

Hut that became Santon Downham village hall
Hut that became Santon Downham village hall

About one hundred ex-Polish Army members found work in the Forest and some lived here at High Lodge, at least temporarily.

Dad's Army

Dad's Army was a much-loved BBC sitcom - written by Jimmy Perry and David Croft- which ran from 1968 to 1977. It featured the exploits of the Walmington-on-Sea Home Guard led by the pompous Captain Mainwaring (pronounced 'Mannering'). Each episode featured the platoon attempting to protect England from German invasion and becoming involved in some hilarious adventures.

Some of the scenes in Dad's Army were filmed at High Lodge. It appears in the episodes "The Desperate Drive Of Corporal Jones" and "Brain versus Brawn"