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Breckland

Breckland is crammed with things to do and see, especially for those who have an interest in history. The market towns of Dereham, Watton, Thetford and Swaffham all have their own unique charm and character.

Thetford Forest, most of which is owned by the Forestry Commission, covers an area of about 20,000 hectares and has many picnic areas. Halfway between Brandon and Thetford is High Lodge Forest Centre, which provides cycle hire for those wanting to explore the many tracks. For the more adventurous visitor there is a ‘Go Ape’ high rope course, that takes about 2 ½ hours to complete.

Seven miles north-west of Thetford is an area of heath land known as Grimes Graves. Hidden amongst the pine trees, the grass-covered hollows are 4,000 years old and were once Neolithic flint mines. Owned by English Heritage, it is the earliest major industrial site in Europe.

Bishop’s Chapel at North Elmham, which is 6 miles north of Dereham, is thought to be the remains of a Norman Episcopal Chapel. It was constructed by Bishop de Losinga (1091-1119) on the site of the former Anglo-Saxon Cathedral. During the 14th century the Bishop of Norwich, Hugh le Despencer, converted the chapel to a fortified manor house. It is open all year round and admission is free.

Iceni Village is an historical village and museum set in the Breckland countryside. It has a nature trail, 17th century church and Elizabethan cottage. The village focuses on the lives of Queen Boudicea and the Iceni tribe which lived in Norfolk some 2,000 years ago.

Situated 2 miles north of Brandon is Weeting Castle ruins. It was once a 12th century defended manor house, built by Hugh de Paris in the 1130’s on the site of a 10th century settlement.

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