Friends of Thetford Forest Logo

The FoTF committee met virtually last week and focused on what we need to do to enable a safe return to volunteering. We've read the Forestry England guidance and also that produced by East District, but as an independent organisation, we are putting together our own risk assessments to mitigate the risks posed by Covid-19 and to safeguard you, our volunteers.
We are also updating the Volunteer Welfare Form. If you are intending to resume volunteering or would like to take part, we will require each one of you to complete and return this form, so that we have your current details.
The risk assessments and our safety guidelines will be shared with FE, as a matter of courtesy and because it is the forest land manager controlling permission. Once we have agreement, we can then email them to you, together with the welfare form.

We would very much like to begin volunteering again sometime in the autumn - with the walking trails' checking and the archaeological sites; monitoring, followed by a gradual return to safe-distancing groups for conservation tasks and at Lynford Arboretum. However this is dependent on FE's agreement and resources and the on-going Covid-19 situation.

Please be assured that we do not want anyone to return who does not think it is safe or appropriate for them to do so.

Accessible Forest

The new wheelchair being admired by the Monday Volunteers and Forestry Commission staff

One of the aims of Friends of Thetford Forest is to improve access to the forest for everyone, especially at High Lodge Forest Centre. In line with this aim the Friends of Thetford Forest has purchased a wheelchair which can be used by visitors to the site or in emergencies (more details are available from the Information Point at High Lodge).

One of the mobility bikes in use at High Lodge

The picture, left, shows the new wheelchair being admired by the Monday Volunteers and Forestry Commission staff at High Lodge.

In addition, Bike Art at High Lodge Forest Centre has a small range of cycles for those with limited ability to ride a conventional bicycle, available at standard rates. For those with sensory deprivation such as profound deafness or partial sight or who would otherwise be unsafe riding conventional bikes there are tandems. For wheelchair users, Bike Art can hire out a tricycle that incorporates a removable chair or a tricycle that incorporates a platform with secure fastenings for the user's own wheelchair. All of these specialised cycles were donated by Friends of Thetford Forest.

A leaflet promoting them has been produced and can be posted or emailed on request by emailing info@fotf.org.uk.

Trailing the Hidden Heritage of High Lodge

FoTF were also heavily involved in the Trailing the Hidden Heritage of High Lodge project. This 4.2km trail, with shortcuts at 1km and 3km, will provide access for everyone into the Forest from High Lodge Centre, as it has a surface suitable for pushchiars, wheelchairs and mobility scooters and benches and perches at 100m intervals. Click here read more about Trailing the Hidden Heritage of High Lodge

Monday Volunteers

The Monday Volunteers are members of FoTF who come to High Lodge with their carers and carry out a variety of tasks to help maintain and look after the surroundings. These tasks include ensuring that footpaths and cycle tracks and the Sound Trail and Play Areas are cleared of weeds, litter, and obstructions. They have also laid out new garden areas around Oak Lodge and planted a mixture of herbs and winter-flowering shrubs.