Rendlesham Forest is a place of peace and tranquillity, a wildlife haven, a picnic park…and the site of one of the biggest UFO stories in the world!
It’s also the place where, on a sunny spring morning whilst sitting in our van we decided to get married!
To find out what Rendlesham Forest means to us, read on.
This is where we tell our personal story…
Say “Rendlesham Forest” to anyone over the age of 35…
… and watch the excitement, fear, intrigue or scepticism on their face!
Rendlesham forest is a 5.8 square mile mixed woodland in East Suffolk. It is a site of special scientific interest (SSSI) and part of the larger Sandlings forest. It hosts diverse wildlife and is home to many species of birds.
The forest has leisure activities such as camping, cycling and hiking paths, play areas and information boards. The main car park area boasts a small refreshment stand and toilets and in the summer you can hire a bike.
And there’s usually space for a motorhome!
The first car park you come to can fill up, even with the recently added ticket machines. The main car park is a little further on. Everyone needs funds and we think the work done in the forest is worth paying a little towards.
Of course, if you have a pitch at Forest Camping, like in the photo above, parking is a certainty! It’s one of our favourite campsites but can get very busy in the summer. Even so, there are no wardens or ‘security guards’ on this site and it retains a sense of the wild because it is surrounded on all sides by the woodland. You are never more than just a few yards from the trees.
2020 UPDATE: Forest Camping has been closed throughout 2020 because of the pandemic. Hopefully the campsite will open again sometime in 2021.
But Rendlesham is much more than just a forest and a campsite…
The Rendlesham Forest UFO incident
In late December 1980, over two or three nights, bright lights were seen racing across the Suffolk skies by many people – local citizens, policemen, and highly trained American airmen from nearby RAF Woodbridge and Bentwaters, both being used by the USAF.
Reports of a “craft” crash landing in the forest only surfaced some three years after the event.
Claims of alien encounters and counter claims that the lights were burning debris or Orford Ness lighthouse shining through the trees, all made the news. Some “Disneyesque” stories emerged, probably to debunk the witnesses. But the mystery remains unsolved and the story refuses to go away…
A UFO trail through the woods, complete with mock spaceship, tells the story. We have walked it. It is more of a fairy-tale tour than a genuine discussion starter – but it attracts the kids without giving them sleepless nights.
With this year being the 40th anniversary of the UFO incident we’ll be out there around Boxing Day, keeping our eyes peeled for anything unusual. Well, you just never know!
This photo of Rendlesham Forest Centre is courtesy of Tripadvisor
The best book we have found about the UFO incident is Jenny Randles’ UFO Crash Landing? Friend or Foe? The True Story of the Rendlesham Forest Close Encounter…
A recognised UFO/Paranormal investigator, she has researched the incident for years and the book explores many different angles and opinions. It certainly seems as if something really significant happened in these woods. Trained and highly trusted military men – with their fingers ready to hit the nuclear button – wouldn’t be called into action for anything less.
But, aside from the UFO mystery, there’s something else about this place that keeps drawing us back…
This is our Rendlesham…
Our Rendlesham is the same forest, the same East Suffolk tranquillity, the same alien landing site – or not!
Our Rendlesham is a place where we can walk amongst the trees and tune in to their whisperings. It is somewhere we can tread the beaten path or go off grid and push through the undergrowth to see what we can find…and come face to face with deer.
Rendlesham is a place where we can let go and breathe! We can commune with nature. We can soak up the feeling that time will pass gently, smoothly, without looking back.
If the wind blows, it will blow until it stops. No worries. No stress.
We wish we could bottle that feeling and sprinkle it all over the world!
Where the trees hug each other!
There are water courses and ponds which could be an English Everglades. And yet within a short stroll, there are dry sand cliffs peppered with nesting holes for tiny Sandmartins.
This forest is home to feathered species that few outside the birding community have even heard of.
There are dragonflies, squirrels, rabbits, amphibians – seems like Noah came to Rendlesham and lost a few occupants. Coloured fungi of every size and hue litter the forest floor.
And there are trees. And more trees. Majestic tall pines and proud old oaks; deciduous, evergreen, leaves, needles…you name it!
This is a forest where the trees really do hug each other…
We have watched shy grazing deer. We have seen Kingfishers darting across a pond leaving a neon streak which burns into the memory before you are aware it was there.
And we were amazed by a huge fox, stealthily foraging through a camper’s food box, close to two tethered Alsatian dogs who didn’t even know she was there!
But this place means more to us than a SSSI or UFO incident…
Birth of the motorhome hobos!
Rendlesham Forest is where Hobo Trudi first met our van Cree; Gav was borrowing the Motorhome at the time…
We later decided to take her on as our own. We adopted her, declaring that we would love her and care for her. But like proud parents, we dress her up and pour more cash into her ample belly… posing for photos marking each little milestone she passes. And she passes slowly if the milestone is up hill, of course!
But there’s more…
Rendlesham Forest, camping in Cree, was where Gav suggested that Trudi may like to become Mrs Roberts. Oh, she did!!!
We were getting the initial ideas together for this website and our free ebook when Gav hinted that, “The book should be written by Gav and Trudi…Roberts.”
A road trip to Scotland was organised and the deed was done in Gretna!
And the name ‘Motorhome Hobos’ just sort of popped into our heads. THAT is our Rendlesham, a place where real magic happens.
If you’ve been to Rendlesham Forest what do you think of it? Have you stayed at the campsite? And what of the UFO mystery?
Alien crash landing or nuclear accident cover-up? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below.
And here are three more books on the Rendlesham Forest incident that we’ve found fascinating. It certainly seems that something serious happened in these woods…