My partner & I took our son Joe (3yrs 9mnths) to Rendlesham Forest for the first time over the summer holidays and were really impressed. The main forest entrance is easy to find, by taking the B1084 Woodbridge to Orford road and following the road signs. The entrance takes you into a large car park, around which all the facilities are based.
You do have to pay for parking but this is the only unavoidable expense, and at about £3 for the day it is well worth it. Once you are parked up you can explore the forest as you wish. As soon as Joe spotted the first play area he rushed off to have a go. This was a large climbing frame with a great twisting enclosed slide and it’s easily accessible for all ages, although very little ones may need some help. Once we had finally persuaded Joe to move onto something else we got the bikes out of the car and decided to set of on a bike ride.
There are free leaflets by the parking ticket machine showing you what trails are available to suit your cycling ability. Basically, there are two walking trails (0.75 & 3 miles) and two cycle trails (6 & 10 miles), all of which are colour coded and can be easily followed by tracing the coloured marker posts along the way. This did however present us with a problem – our son is not yet 4 and has only just taken his stabilisers off, there is no way he would manage a 6 mile cycle ride! However, it seemed a real shame not to have a go so instead we started off with the short walking trail.
As it says on the leaflet this is not strictly allowed, but fortunately nobody seemed to mind. Both of the cycle trails are classified as ‘easy’ and are suitable for beginners, as long as you can manage the distance, or can successfully switch to the long walking trail as a shortcut back to the start. We took our own bikes although there is a bike hire shop on the site with a variety of bikes for hire – we can’t comment on prices though as we didn’t use them. In addition to these trails there is also a special ‘UFO Trail’, which is 3 miles long. This is designed to give you an insight into the 1980’s alleged UFO sightings, so you can see the areas involved, read the story, consider the reports and decide whether the mystery is true….kids (and grown ups) interested in the paranormal will be in their element.
After the cycle ride we got a hot drink from the kiosk (not great quality, I’d recommend taking a flask!), and sat and ate our packed lunch. The kiosk also sells cold drinks and ice creams. There are lots of picnic benches scattered around and also a big open space of grass where you can sit with a picnic blanket.
There are also toilet facilities that were kept clean. After our lunch we explored the other play areas that are all within easy walking distance, our son loved them all but a few were for older children so he needed a bit of help. There was a zip wire (age 5+ but Joe was able to have a go), lots of things to climb on, den building, swings, games and more.
This really is a wonderful active day out for kids of all ages, but ages 4-10 would probably get the most out of it. The forest is beautiful and if you go on a lovely sunny day and take a picnic then you can spend a w hole day there for very little cost. The forest trails are great for walking and cycling enthusiasts. There is plenty to keep the kids occupied and they are guaranteed to go home exhausted and happy! [gallery size="large" type="slideshow" ids="6782,6783,6784,6785,6786"]