Brandon town area guide - Suffolk
Brandon is a lovely little market town, with market days every Thursday and Saturday, located on the border of Suffolk with the adjoining county of Norfolk. It is situated in the unspoilt Breckland area and lies deep in the heart of Thetford Forest and is surrounded by Forestry Commission and agricultural land.
There is an abundance of wildlife in the area and if you are a keen birdwatcher a visit to nearby Weeting Heath National Nature Reserve is a must. Here you can spot typical Breck birds like Stone Curlews, Woodlarks and Nightjars - as well as deer and squirrels. Lakenheath Fen is about a mile away from Brandon and is an RSPB nature reserve. Here you can catch a glimpse of Bearded Tits, Marsh Harriers, dragonflies, wading birds and Kestrels hovering over areas of grassland, searching for voles and shrews.
For the length of ten miles runs The Little Ouse Path which follows for much of it’s route the towpath of the Little Ouse River starting at Brandon and finishing at Thetford.
Thetford Forest and High Lodge Visitor Centre offers everything a day visitor is looking for. Perfect for country and forest walks along way-marked trails. There is a spacious lawn and lake area or why not hire a bike and take your pick of three levels of cycle trails. There are plenty of picnic sites or you can enjoy a light lunch or afternoon cream tea in the tearoom located within the visitor centre.
For the children and adults if you dare! The Go Ape high rope course and forest adventure will be a challenge worthy of any little monkey! Go Ape is a giant obstacle course set up in the trees using ladders, walkways, bridges and tunnels made of wood, rope and super-strong wire, and to top it all off with the country’s best zip lines. The result is spectacular.
Another popular tourist attraction at Brandon is Grimes Graves, the only Neolithic flint mine in Britain open to visitors. You can find a wealth of information on mining flint from prehistoric times in the visitor centre and it is also possible to descend by a 9 metre ladder into the depths of one of the mine shafts.
Brandon is also home to the Brandon Brewery now part of the Riverside Hotel and Restaurant complex which straddles the picturesque River Ouse, It is situated in the old dairy of a 15th century cottage, which is the only remaining dwelling, in the lane known locally as Grape Alley. There is a well stocked brewery shop offering many local ales or why not call into the nearby Bell public house to sample a real ale straight from the pump.
Brandon Country Park
– Woodland park surrounding large mansion of 1826 (now restored to private use). Spacious lawn and lake. Tree Trail and forest walks. Birds, deer and other wildlife. New wheelchair swing. Visitor Centre open Mar-Oct 10-5 M-F, 10-5.30 W/Es Nov-Feb 10-4 01842 810185 www.suffolkcc.gov.uk/e-and-t/countryside
Brandon Heritage Centre
- History of the town, a centre of flint-making from the Stone Age up to the days of gun flints – also of the breeding of rabbits for fur. Natural history of Thetford forest. Open Apr to mid-Dec Th & Sa 10.30-5, Su 2-5 01842 813707 www.brandon-heritage.co.uk/heritage.html
Thetford Forest Park
– Forrestry commission information Centre, Restaurant and shop. Waymarked walks (some for wheelchairs), cycle trails, orienteering. Cycle hire. Go Ape!, Maze, Adventure Playground. Open daily from 9. Seasonal opening 01842 815434 www.forestry.gov.uk/thetfordforrestpark
– Local ales, brewery shop and tours available.
- Go Ape It’s not in the dictionary, but if it was, Go Ape would be described as a ‘high-wire forest adventure’. High Lodge Visitor Centre Thetford.
Last Updated: 28 Apr 2015