Visitor information
Opening hours
How to find us
Parking & prices
Facilities & access
Contact details

Opening hours

St Helen's Picnic Site offers 24 hour access, 365 days a year.

Please note that the toilet block is currently closed.

Read our visitor information on coronavirus

How to find us

How to find us
St Helen's Picnic Site, Thetford Forest
Sat Nav Postcode: IP27 0TJ
By Car

Follow the signs for East England Forest District office, as you pass the office on the left carry over the bridge and the site is on you right (header signs in place).

OS Grid Ref
TL 820 880

52.4537166, 0.6858984

Parking and prices

There are no parking charges at St Helen's Picnic Site.

Coaches/Minibuses charges

 Coach parking is limited.

Additional information

Number of accessible parking spaces: 0

There are no designated accessible parking spaces at this forest, have you seen our Easy Access trails page?

Facilities and access

Accessibility information is available from the local district office.

Assistant dogs welcome
Dogs allowed
Picnic area

Contact details

The perfect stop for a picnic and informative forest walk through a designated Forest Nature Reserve

The Little Ouse Valley between Brandon and Thetford has been designated a Forest Nature Reserve by Forestry England in recognition of its importance to wildlife.

Along the valley, wetland areas of alder carr and fen, poplars, damp grazing meadows and reedbeds support a rich variety of plants, insects and birds. St Helen's picnic site, next to the river, is a good base from which to explore. An impressive display of snowdrops can be seen at Santon Downham in the early spring in the woodland opposite the village shop.

You are welcome to picnic here but please do not barbecue.

At a glance

Please don't bring barbecues on site
11/05/2022 15:36
Dogs welcome
11/05/2022 15:37

Things to do

The easy access trail at St Helen’s Picnic Site is one and a half miles long and follows the river for part of its route. It is suitable for wheelchairs and buggies.

Enjoy a tasty treat in the forest at St Helen's Picnic Site, just bring along good food and company!

You are welcome to picnic here but please do not barbecue. To prevent forest fires and reduce waste, please do not bring any barbecues into our forests.

Interesting information on the history and wildlife of this area can be found on eight panels around the Orange Walk. The walk can be started from St Helen’s Picnic Site or Santon Downham. The easy access trail at St Helen’s Picnic Site is one and a half miles long and follows the river for part of its route. It is suitable for wheelchairs and buggies.

Nearby forests

Santon Downham

Whether you are seeking a quiet stroll or wish to take in the natural beauty of the local area, Santon Downham is an idyllic part of Suffolk.

Much of the land here originally belonged to the Santon Downham estate, which was at one time owned by Charles Sloane (later Lord Cadogan).

Sun bathing

The magnificent beeches lining the A134 at this site provide the setting for one of the most attractive picnic spots within the forest.

The splendour of the beech canopy affords an atmosphere of peace and tranquility.

An open area next to the car park gives opportunities for those wishing to picnic or play during their stay. Here, heather and grasses add a splash of colour and interest for insects such as butterflies and bees, reminiscent of the former Breckland heaths.

Sun shining through green trees and shrubs

Every corner of High Lodge has something just waiting to be discovered, the more you walk around the forest, the more you’ll find.

With play areas dotted around the forest, beautiful trails winding through rich wilderness and thrilling mountain biking opportunities, you’ll be itching to return!

The Heritage Trail at High Lodge, built with funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund, gives everyone the opportunity to enjoy the forest.

Sunrise in a conifer forest

A patchwork of pines, heathland and broadleaves provide the ideal setting for a great day out, and a welcome refuge for a rich variety of animal and plant life.  The forest covers a huge area with many different places to visit offering a range attractions from the exciting outdoor play facilities at High Lodge, the history and heritage of Mildenhall Warren and Lynford Arboretum and the peace and tranquility of the walks around St Helen's.  

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