Brandon Country Park
Made up of over 30 acres of managed parkland, 'haunted' mausoleum, lawns and pond, historic walled garden and miles of nature trails.
Located in the vast Thetford Forest, Brandon lies in the very heart of The Brecks. A wild landscape of dark forests, open heathlands, sandy soils and iconic belts of pine trees that straddles the Suffolk and Norfolk border.
Brandon Country Park is open every day of the year from dawn to dusk.
Free to enjoy (you will need to pay for parking if you need it)
About Brandon Country Park
It was the vision of one man back in the 1800's, that saw the creation of Brandon Country Park and of Thetford Forest. As was fashionable in England in those days, wealthy industrialists wanted to have their own country seat and in 1820, Edward Bliss selected Brandon Hall.
Having made his wealth from selling gun flint to the army during the Napoleonic Wars, Edward set to work developing his hall, walled garden and arboretum. The arboretum grew and grew, full of exotic species from Blue Atlas Cedar to Giant Redwoods to Monkey Puzzle Trees.
In the grounds he built a small, flint knapped, gothic mausoleum surrounded by Irish Yews. This was to be the final resting place for himself and his wife but in the early 20th century they were moved to Brandon Cemetery. Today the mausoleum plays home to Pipestrelle bats and reputably the ghost of Edward's nephew, Baron Boretto. Dressed in knee breaches, a deer stalker and holding a human skull lit by a candle, he is occasionally seen wandering the grounds. What, or who, is he looking for?
When the gun flint industry started to decline Edward put his men to work planting over 1 million trees. Their endeavours created what we know today as Thetford Forest.
With over 50,000 acres of Scots and Causican Pine, Larch, Beech and Silver Birch, Thetford Forest is a wonderfully mysterious place to explore. The forest is criss-crossed with miles of walking and cycling trails. Some are suited to families, others for the more experienced hiker and cyclist.;
Explore one of our three nature trails from the one mile red trail, three and a half mile purple trail to the five and a half mile orange trail.
As from Friday 20 October 2023 there are closures to three of the forest trails due to dangerous trees in target with the power lines. UK Power Networks will be dealing with these trees in due course. Diversions have been put in place on the orange trail on the northern side of the park, on the blue trail near the Engine House and on the open space on the western side of the park. See the attached map showing the locations marked by a red cross.
Details of these trails can be found at What's On West Suffolk - Trails in Brandon County Park
Forestry England have removed their route markers on the Poachers blue cycle trail, the land will still be accessible, details can be found on the Forestry England website.
Advice for not getting lost in the woods:
- Ensure your mobile phone is fully charged.
- Download the what3words app to your smartphone so if there is an emergency, tell the emergency services your location then they can see where you are and send help.
- Download a compass app to your smart phone.
- Tell a friend or family member what time you plan on returning home.
Visit our historic Walled Garden with its stunning Himalayan Birch trees, unusual Handkerchief Tree and fragrant Bay Tree. Enjoy our two play areas for toddlers to teens with climbing frame, assault course, swings and slides.
Learn about trees from around the World in our famous arboretum. Enjoy morning coffee, light lunch and afternoon tea in the Copper Beech Café.
- The Copper Beech Café is open from 10am daily except on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day. Closing hours are April to October 4.30pm and November to March 3.30pm. During school holidays please call the Cooper Beech Cafe on 01842 810185 to check for extended closing times.
- public toilets
- children’s play area
- meeting room, conference room facilities to hire in the Engine House and Walled Garden, please see below for more information
- ornamental lawns
- ornamental lake
- woodland trails
Engine House hire
The Engine House is the perfect venue for all kinds of events including:
- business meetings
- community events
- classes and workshops
- team building and away days
The courtyard area is also included with hire of The Engine House, ideal for breakout sessions in the fresh air.
You can hire the two rooms - The Pump House and The Bothy - separately, or The Engine House in it's entirety.
Capacity for each room is 30 when using theatre style seating arrangements.
Please contact Parks on 01284 757088 for hire rates and availability. Or to arrange a visit, call the Brandon ranger team on 01638 719435.
Catering and refreshments can be supplied if required or you are welcome to bring your own. Please call the Copper Beech Café on 01842 810185 to discuss options.
Please note Brandon Country Park does not have an alcohol licence.
Brandon Country Park's Walled Garden offers a tranquil, intimate outdoor space full of character. Surrounded by a red brick and flint wall with many original features, including a well, plus newer additions such as a herb garden and woodland water garden.
Although we endeavour to open the walled garden daily - from 10am to 3.30pm November to March, 10am to 4.30pm April to October, times may vary and access cannot be guaranteed on your visit.
Please note that Brandon Country Park does not hold an alcohol license and the Walled Garden is a no-smoking venue.
The following regulations are in place for your safety and to protect the environment, please abide by them:
- no golf or hard ball games
- no unauthorised vehicles
- do not pick the flowers
- do not disturb wildlife
- dogs must be under control at all times
- no dog fouling
- no fires
- no camping
- pick up your litter.
A full set of byelaws are available on request.