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 £1.50 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 😉

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.

A postcard from Cheshire

Last Saturday, we made our now traditional annual trip to Marbury Park in Cheshire for a picnic and woodland walk. I’m a huge fan of the Cheshire countryside, having grown up nearby and enjoyed many trips into the lush green countryside as a child.

Now, every summer when I come over to visit my parents, we make the trip to Marbury on a dry and hopefully sunny day for a chance to wander through the woods, look at nature and for the Little Postcards to collect many sticks.

Marbury Park is part of the Northwich Woodlands so there are loads of beautiful trees to enjoy, from baby fruit trees planted near the ranger’s office to mature beech, oak and birches. It really is a fantastic place for a wander and even though we visited on a Saturday it wasn’t too busy.

The park path takes you through the woods to the edge of Budworth Mere, a home for much wildlife.

We stood and watched the ducks and coots paddling about and other birds further out diving down into the water for food.

This swan family with two cygnets were lovely to see.

Budworth Mere looking across to Great Budworth Church
The countryside here is just so different to what we are used to in Gibraltar. It’s so vibrant and green. I love it… 

Another tradition of ours is to try to stick coins into this tree stump on our walk. There have been quite a few Gibraltar coppers sunk into this over the years, yet there never seem to be many there…. 

The woodland walk eventually joins the banks of a canal before opening up into fields and then looping back to the starting point.

This lovely bright butterfly was enjoying the nettles as we past. Despite many warnings, two of the Little Postcards got stung and dock leaves needed to be found to deal with the casualties.


After a picnic lunch in a nice grassy area close to the car park (which we had to ourselves for most of the time) and several games of football, we got back into the car and headed homewards via the picturesque village of Great Budworth, who’s church we saw from afar across the Mere.

You see those stocks in front of the church? Sadly there was only room to put two of the Little Postcards in them and not all three! 😉

Throughout the village was a Scarecrow Trail. We had a go at finding some of them ourselves.

St Mary & All Saints Church, the beneficiary of funds raised by the scarecrow trail

Would you like to see some of the scarecrows? Clearly an awful lot of thought and effort had gone into making them all.

Scarecrow baker with a 90th birthday cake
The theme for many of the scarecrows was the Queen’s 90th birthday celebrations.


Beefy, the beefeater
This scarecrow soldier had had a bit too much to drink!
 
Of course, you can’t have a birthday party without the guest of honour…

‘Lizzie’ with her corgi
Aside from the scarecrows, Great Budworth is a really beautiful place to visit. We have driven through many times on our way to Marbury Park, but this is the first time I have ever stopped to take a closer look.

This building is so lovely, it even has hearts built into the brickwork!


What a great use for a disused phone box: a book crossing point.


After the excitement of the scarecrow trail, it was time to head to our last destination, Great Budworth Ice Cream Farm…

There was such a great choice of flavours, but I had to go for my all time favourite; chocolate. 🙂


It tasted as good as it looks.

And here are the lovely ladies we need to thank for that fantastic ice cream… moo!

If you want to read about our trip to Marbury Park and the ice cream farm last summer, click on this link: Daisy chains, buttercups & damsel flies I promise that I took different photos this year even if a a few look very similar 😉