Rendlesham Forest – why you should visit this beautiful and strange forest

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Rendlesham Forest is a 3700 acre forest situated in Suffolk. The forest is part of the Sandlings Forest Site of Special Scientific Interest, meaning it is a protected area. The forest has trails for walkers and cyclists to explore, and is popular with both (there are 3 walking trails and 2 cycling trails). The forest is also popular with orienteers, and there is an orienteering trail too. The majority of the forest is planted with pine, so there is a really fresh scent to enjoy as you explore the area. However, it is technically listed as a mixed forest due to the presence of other trees such as silver birch trees, recognisable instantly due to their white-ish bark. Interestingly, much of the forest was destroyed by a storm in the late 80s and so many of the trees were replanted, making the forest quite young.

We wanted to highlight this forest because it is a lovely and fascinating area to explore, especially if you're visiting the Suffolk area for a weekend. It's also a great forest to visit if you're looking to do some Shinrin-Yoku forest bathing. Let's get into some specifics about the forest:

What are the popular trails within the forest?

As we mentioned in our introduction, there are a few trails that you can explore throughout the forest, including 3 walking trails and 2 cycling trails. These are:


UFO trail - this is a popular trail inspired the apparent UFO sighting at the forest in 1980


Yellow easy access trail - this is a 1.2km trail that follows a circular route


Phoenix trail - this is a 5km that will take you through wetlands and heathland, and was named after the recovery of the forest from the storm in the late 80s

Visiting Rendlesham Forest (2022)

There are 2 parking areas in the forest and parking will cost £5 per day. It can be a little difficult to find the forest so definitely use a sat nav and don't rely on signs within the area. There is also a play area for any kids who don't fancy walking and just want to play.

Anything else to mention?

Yes - the forest is best known by many as the site of an infamous apparent UFO sighting. In 1980 there was a sighting often referred to as the 'Rendlesham Forest incident'. US servicemen that were stationed at the nearby RAF Woodbridge reported seeing strange red lights in the forest, and a forestry worker who was chopping wood in the forest one day was approached by 2 mysterious men in suits and asked lots of questions about the red lights sighting. A few years later an article about the red lights was featured on the front of the News of the World newspaper and there has even been a horror movie made about this incident. If you're feeling brave then you could head to the forest during the nighttime and see if you spot anything, but you won't catch us doing that!
Hopefully you enjoyed this guide and feel inspired to visit this lovely forest. If you're looking to stay in a forest like this, check out our guide to the best forest getaways.

Finn is the editor of You Well and has been writing about travel, health, and more for over 10 years.

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