A postcard from Rendlesham Forest UFO Trail

Until recently, I knew very little about Rendlesham Forest and the UFO sightings which occurred there in 1980. This summer though, on our holiday to Suffolk, we were able to visit Rendlesham Forest for the first time. It gave us the chance to have a great family day out, and find out a little bit more about the funny goings on in the woods…

Nowadays Rendlesham Forest comes under the stewardship of the Forestry Commission. On arrival, there were a couple of wardens on hand to point us in the right direction to the facilities and we were able to pick up a leaflet detailing the UFO walk. There’s a camp site at the forest and many walking and cycling trails through the trees. On a dry, sunny August day, there were plenty of people about keen to enjoy the delights the forest had to offer.

For the Postcard family, it was the UFO trail which held the most appeal…

The wide path beckoned us through the trees with three young UFO hunters eager to solve the mystery of whether aliens did indeed visit this part of Suffolk in the long and distant past (well before they were born…)

Rendlesham Forest is a really beautiful spot, the trees are farmed and the whole area is really well maintained. There is also a good mix of trees to be enjoyed,  different sections of the woodland are dedicated to different trees; pine, silver birch and other deciduous varieties.

As the trail wound deeper into the forest, a loud droning noise seemed to be echoing off the trunks of the trees around us. We just couldn’t figure out what was making the racket until we spotted glimpses of the nearby air base through the trees in the distance. A very large plane was obviously was manoeuvring in preparation for take-off.

We were soon greeted by a sign explaining the significance of the air base in the UFO sighting story.

We were at the East Gate, where the first lights were spotted in the sky on that December night back in 1980, and where the whole Rendlesham UFO story began.

The trail led us along the now disused road which follows the perimeter of the air base and on through the trees towards our next destination. In the meantime, the loud plane noises had ceased as it had taken off and all that could be heard was the wind blowing through the branches of the pine trees.

As we reached a cross roads, we were taken by surprise as the plane had circled and came back in to land. A crowd of passers-by had gathered to see what was going on. A local resident commented that it was the first time in months that he had seen any air traffic at the base and was pleased to see the RAF back in residence.

We crossed the road and continued the trail deeper into the forest. A small group of airmen had followed the lights into the forest thinking that an aircraft had crashed. We were following in their footsteps.

All along the route, the path is clearly marked with signs pointing you in the right direction. On the rear of these posts is a secret code specially put there for children. At the Forestry Commission office in the carpark at the start of the trail, special UFO kits are available to buy (for about ยฃ1.50 I think) which helped to keep the younger members of the party engaged on the walk.

The kits contain a code cracker and on completion of the walk, you can decipher a special message (left by aliens) using the translation table.

It was a great idea and really helped us divert attention from the tired little legs which had had enough part of the way around the walk! The boys really enjoyed seeking out the next secret symbol and we were able to crack the code once we’d got home. I cannot tell you what the answer is though, it’s classified as top secret ๐Ÿ˜‰

As we wandered through the trees, seeing more signs and following the timeline of events which happened back in 1980 (from the leaflet) we could hear the plane circling overhead again. It took off and landed several times while we were walking through the forest, I have to admit that the droning of the engine did add to the spooky atmosphere in some parts of the forest.

It really is a stunningly beautiful place.

After a while we were directed to a clearing in the forest which was home to this:

It is a 3D representation of what one of the US Airforce man drew after his experience in the forest. The UFO is believed to have landed near this spot and looked like this model. 

We were at the mid-point of the trail, our next stop was at the edge of the forest near some farmland where the mysterious lights were spotted.

The last ‘site’ we visited is where a UFO was reported to have landed. In the intervening 36 years the area has been replanted with trees several times but they all failed to thrive and now it is left as a clearing.

Once our UFO trail was complete, the ‘Out of this World’ play area was beckoning. It was a fab place for little people to run wild. With lots of branches left lying around, previous visitors had used the timber to create great dens.

There was also a great adventure play area too. Believe it or not, it was crowded with families – it took quite a while to get this photo without any children in it! I think they were all off balancing on a timber assault course at this moment!

Our trip to Rendlesham Forest was such a hit, we went back again for a second visit. The second time we took reinforcements – we brought Grandparents, an Aunt and an Uncle too. I’m pretty sure that they enjoyed it as much as we did. 

If you should find yourself in this part of Suffolk, I would really recommend a visit. There is a small charge for parking and the leaflets detailing the walk were free. There’s a very large picnic area and space to barbecue. Plus, you’ll be able to say you completed the Rendlesham UFO Trail!

For more information on the Rendlesham UFO Trail, check out the  Forestry Commission website.

Summer Craft Challenge 2016 Part 6

Day 36 : Saturday 13th August


I know I’d only been working on this blanket for 8 days when I took this photo but there’s an awfully long way still to go!! I have crocheted every day so far and have used a complete ball of white wool edging the circles so far. As one Instagram and blogging friend Wakeymakes pointed out at least I’ll have good memories of the different locations where I’ve made all of the squares ๐Ÿ™‚

Day 37 : Sunday 14th August 


Time for a spot of slow Sunday morning stitching at breakfast time…

Day 38 : Monday 15th August


It was the turn of the Little Postcards to be crafty on Monday morning with a pottery painting session at Gallery Thea in Southwold. This effort was a lighthouse, just like the one at Europa Point, by the Littlest.


Did you know that Monday was Granny Square Day 2016? Here’s my contribution to the collage blanket collated by @suregal27 on Instagram. I only had a few colours with me on holiday so I used the colours in my current blanket WIP. 

Day 39 : Tuesday 16th August


A new chunky wool project was begun on a boat on the Norfolk Broads. We hired a day boat and chugged around the Broads for about six hours, it was really lovely. I have run out of my white wool for my blanket WIP (cue : shock, horror, teeth gnashing) so I had to start something new that was portable. Littlest Postcard saw this rainbow wool in a wool shop last week and asked me to buy it and make him something. He’s getting a scarf if the wool lasts long enough…

Day 40 : Wednesday 17th August


We loved it so much at Rendlesham Forest last week that we made a return trip. We had a lovely woodland walk and I enjoyed a quiet few moments of crochet while Littlest Postcard enjoyed the adventure playground. 

I was also able to collect our pottery productions from Gallery Thea, they had rushed our painted bits and bobs through the kiln in time for us to pack them and take them back to Gibraltar with us. Littlest’s lighthouse came out really well ๐Ÿ™‚

Day 41 : Thursday 18th August


One last pint of Adnams Spindrift sitting on the South Green in Southwold on the last night of our holiday.  We’ve had a wonderful two weeks here and are sad to be saying goodbye…

Day 42 : Friday 19th August


No craft today I’m afraid, for the first time this summer craft challenge I haven’t picked up a needle, hook or brush. This was our last glimpse of Blighty as we flew home to Gibraltar (I think we were near Southampton when I took it). Eleven hours door to door, we’re a little jaded, normal service will be resumed tomorrow…

Sunday Sevens #44 14.8.16

We’re still on our summer holidays in Suffolk and have had a really lovely week. The weather has been kind to us most of the time and we’ve been able to get out and about a lot, here’s a few of the things we’ve been up to:

Oh I do like to be beside the seaside…


I had the prom to myself on my Monday morning run. It meant I could ogle the gorgeous beach huts without feeling too self conscious. I have long been an admirer of these little wooden huts in all their gorgeous rainbow colours…

We’re going to the zoo, zoo, zoo


We had a lovely day out at Kessingland Africa Alive Zoo near Lowestoft. The sun shone (most of the time) and we saw loads of lovely animals. Two of the bravest little Postcards got to hold millipedes at the minibeast presentation. Apparently they tickled… Needless to say I was too squeamish to attempt such a thing ๐Ÿ˜‰

Paddling


We got up bright and early one morning and almost had the beach to ourselves. We had a few hours there before heading off to do other things. One of the joys of staying close to the beach has meant we can have several shorter beach trips rather than committing to a whole day there. 

Transport Museum


As one of the Little Postcards is an avid fan of all things public transport related, we often pay a visit to the East Anglia Transport Museum at Lowestoft when we’re in this part of the world. There are trams, trolley buses, a steam train, buses galore and a steam powered road roller. 

Manned by enthusiastic volunteers the museum is an interesting day out for young and old alike (even those of us who don’t get over excited by such things ๐Ÿ˜‰ ).  It’s really well maintained and the collection is constantly being added to and restored. A great favourite for us was the ‘Half-decker bus’ which was designed to hold more passengers than a single decker but still be able to fit under low bridges:


The staggered seating areas were like small train compartments and really cosy. The central corridor led to both upper level and lower level seating. It was a really ingenious use of space – shame this is the only example of this kind of bus still remaining today.

The Cathedral of the Marshes


The church of the Holy Trinity at Blythburgh is striking as it rises above the marshes of the Blyth estuary. Known as the Cathedral of the Marshes, a church has stood on this site for 1400 years. It has a stunning carved wooden ceiling with angels running the length of the roof. The cemetery is a wildlife sanctuary which is maintained in such a way as to promote both the plants and creatures which live there. We always stop and pay the church a visit on the way past, it’s really tranquil spot. 

Rendlesham


We headed to Rendlesham Forest for a lovely woodland walk on a very sunny morning last week. It is such a beautiful place, one we have never visited before. It was the site of a series of famous UFO sightings in 1980 and there’s a specially marked out UFO Trail you can follow to see where the sightings were. Aside from the extra terrestrial side of things it’s a really lovely spot.

For the love of lemon bonbons 


There’s a lovely old-fashioned sweet shop here in Southwold and we have found ourselves drawn to it a couple of times. I have reaquainted myself with the delights of the bonbon on this holiday, rhubarb and custard flavour were very nice but my all time favourite has to be lemon… Yum!

I hope the last seven days have been kind to you. Thank you very much for stopping by!

Sunday Sevens is a weekly blog series featuring seven (whoops eight again this week ๐Ÿ˜‰ ) photos from the past seven days. It was created by Natalie at Threads & Bobbins blog, check her blog out if you want to find out more.