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Your comments on High Lodge Thetford Forest

3 Stars 3 Stars

Visited Oak Lodge with U3A yesterday, had a lovely lady giving us a talk about history of forest, how it started, maintenance ongoing work etc very good interesting, she also took us for a walk in forest pointing out different things that she had been talking about, she made it so interesting. But paying for parking was a wake up call, bearing in mind we are all persioners and on limited budget paying out almost 7 for 3 hours was a huge amount out of my days money, so while I would have liked to stay for lunch just not affordable.

Spoilt what had been a very enjoyable visit

Anonymous, 17/May/2017

Thank you for your feedback. We believe that our costs to visit High Lodge offer exceptional value for money. Site Entry fees are vital in helping us achieve a sustainable business.The Forestry Commission Site Entry fees supports areas across the whole site from the road in and out, maintenance, cycle trails, car parks, play equipment, picnic benches, upkeep of toilets and first aid provision.

Forestry Commission Response
3 Stars 3 Stars

Visited the park on a bank holiday weekend as we had booked Go Ape. We left in good time however ended up being late anyway as it took 15 minutes to park! Never seen it so busy in my life.

Go Ape itself was extremely fun and the staff were polite and helpful.

Car parking charges on the other hand are barbaric! 11 for a days parking? Our day ended up being more expensive than we had hoped. That was also without visiting the cafe, as it was too damn busy to actually sit down anywhere and enjoy a coffee.

My advice to anyone visiting - be sure to go on the quieter days.

Kirsty, 10/May/2017

Thank you for your feedback. We have been experiencing high visitor numbers on Bank Holiday weekends so now have additional car parking resource on site at peak times.

Forestry Commission Response
1 Star 1 Star

While visiting your site yesterday with my family I was rather disturbed to see a painter appear to kick a dog and shout at the owner for no apparent reason

This ruined an otherwise pleasant day

Peter Ellis, 5/May/2017

Thank you for reporting this incident which will be passed onto the High Lodge Manager. Visitor Services Assistants and the Duty Manager are available at High Lodge Information Point.

Forestry Commission Response
1 Star 1 Star

No internet signal sat at table foot was missing making table unstable my son moved his chair and it tipped hot chochilate all over him burning his hand stomach and my hand told cafe people basically didn't want to know told me to go to other cafe I asked for manager she came and apologised but never offered him another drink until my mum asked she did give my son cold packs for his burns

Susan Pickett, 14/Apr/2017

Thank you for your feedback and High Lodge Café is run by Churchill Catering which is a partner business on the High Lodge site. Your experience will be discussed with their management team.

Forestry Commission Response
1 Star 1 Star

The staff at Bike Art are the most obnoxious, rude, unhelpful people and their prices are ludicrous - we will never return their and warn others to avoid falling foul of there "service"!

The Cafe staff were not much better and started cleaning floors and stacking chairs on tables whilst we ate almost an hour before closing. They even locked the door so we had to ask to leave, 15 minutes before closing time - again, we will never visit here again either.

Go Ape was "ok" but again, staff were less than bothered with any requests out of the norm. Chaos and lots of waiting time.

For a day out, what with the highest priced parking I have ever known, it certainly tested our patience but our boys seemed to enjoy their day so that was a saving grace.

Anonymous, 9/Apr/2017

Thank you for your feedback and High Lodge Café is run by Churchill Catering which is a partner business on the High Lodge site. Bike Art and Go Ape are also partner businesses on site. Your comments will be followed up with their respective management teams.

Forestry Commission Response
2 Stars 2 Stars

I think you need to have a word with the staff that run Bike Art. If you have a quick look across Google Reviews or Trip Advisor type sites, let alone the cycling interest groups, Bike Art's customer service has built up an infamous reputation for rude staff and shoddy bike service. Having a captive market means there is no choice for bike hire, which is where the Forestry Commission should step in. Much of the negative experiences cyclists have at Thetford comes from interaction with Bike Art. It is so bad that regular cyclists like myself prepare ourselves for the rude abuse that is part of the hire or servicing experience at Bike Art. Is this the kind of reputation you want High Lodge to have? Please - do something about this. They are also ruining the perception of the cycling community for those coming in to it. The owner(s) clearly think their behaviour is normal - they wouldn't last a few weeks in places like Cambridge.

Matt Polaine, 8/Apr/2017

Thank you for your feedback. Bike Art is a partner business on the High Lodge site. Your comments will be discussed with their management team.

Forestry Commission Response
4 Stars 4 Stars

Clean, fantastic woodland area with plenty of parks and trails to entertain all ages. I did find the hair braid/face painting lady quite patronising/rude though which is why I haven't given it 5 stars

Kim, 7/Apr/2017

Thank you for your feedback and the hair braid/ face paint lady is one of our additional attraction providers on site. Your comments will be passed on by the Ranger responsible for on site attractions.

Forestry Commission Response

Dreadful man management at the Lodge. Peak time, with the Lodge packed thanks to half-term, and only one person working the pantry, despite massive queues. What are they thinking.

Ron F, 6/Apr/2017

Thank you for your feedback and High Lodge Café is run by Churchill Catering which is a partner business on the High Lodge site. Your comments will be raised at our regular liaison meetings with their management team.

Forestry Commission Response
5 Stars 5 Stars

Love coming here. Have a discovery pass and frequently visit during term time with my dogs for some exercise and fresh air. Love the walking trails, seeing the forest change with the seasons and spotting wildlife. Excellent play facilities for my nieces and nephew to enjoy for hours and lots of outdoor seating for a bite or drink. Staff are always welcoming and helpful. Very fortunate to have High Lodge fairly close by.

G Rose, 3/Apr/2017

Thank you for your positive feedback which is always really appreciated by the High Lodge staff.

Forestry Commission Response
4 Stars 4 Stars

We found the Gruffalo trails very difficult to follow, the signs are not very clear as to where to go! There are signs to start the trails but thereafter it all gets a bit vague!! I have to say we were not alone there were several families having the same problem, I think the signs should be much clearer after all we had to pay to take part but didn't/couldn't complete them!!

Anonymous, 26/Mar/2017

Please accept our apologies for the Gruffalo signage affecting your enjoyment of the trails. We are currently reviewing the level of signage following visitor feedback.

Forestry Commission Response

We came to high lodge a couple of fridays's ago and after driving nearly an hour to get there it was closed for the day due to 'unforseen circumstances'! Very disappointing. Now i feel that i have to check with you before i come which is annoying! Are you open today???

deborah harker, 10/Mar/2017

We did have to close due to clear up operations following Storm Doris. We recommend that visitors check High Lodge website if they are travelling some distance to visit us, as this will be kept updated with any unforeseen closure information.

Forestry Commission Response

This is the second email to you about your closing time I took my Grandaughter and the young disabled boy she looks after to High Lodge Brandon last week dropped them off at 1.00 pm. The signs on entering the area said this site closes at 5.00pm nothing to say the gates will be locked at 4.15 so on arriving at 4.45 with no way of getting in or contacting anyone inside. Grandaughter had no phone signal due to area we were in eventually contacted High Lodge and they sent a Forestry Van who thankfully picked them up and brought them to the exit gate. Also people that just drop off and pick people up should be catered for by having someone at the entrance gate to let them through to pick the people up. But the main I would hope for is some signs put up informing people the gates are locked 45 minutes before the site closes not everyone looks on the internet to check everything. Thank you

alan blair, 20/Feb/2017

Thank you for your feedback. There can be a delay in your comments being published. We offer our apologies for your return stressful visit to site and pleased that our staff were able to help. There is a large banner with the closing time which also states the gates are locked 45 mins before this time. This information is also displayed in other signage at the entrance.

Forestry Commission Response

Obnoxious staff at Bike Art - never coming back!

Anonymous, 19/Feb/2017

Thank you for your feedback and hope that you will feel able to return to High Lodge to enjoy the varied attractions. Bike Art is a partner business on site and will be made aware of your comments.

Forestry Commission Response
2 Stars 2 Stars

I dropped my Grandaughter and the boy she cares for at High Lodge Brandon at 1pm today on the entrance gate it said these gates will be locked at 5pm ( no mention of locking them at 4.15 ) so came back at 4.45 to find the gates locked Grandaughter had no phone signal no answer on ringing High Lodge, quite stressed by then eventually someone answered the phone I explained my problem and the Lady was very helpful and sent a van to let me in luckily I had described my Grandaughter and her charge to the Lady the man in the van spotted them and brought them to the gate which I was very grateful for but do believe this could have been avoided with better signage thanks

Anonymous, 17/Feb/2017
5 Stars 5 Stars

Had a gr8 day done the poacher trail 10 mile on bikes with the kids my youngest is only 4 years old they can't wait to go back so we the discovery pass great value

Tommy, 8/Jan/2017
3 Stars 3 Stars

We are annual pass holders and visit regularly. We love the location and with the pass there's no pressure to clock watch. We find something new to do every visit. My son is also a MBR and uses the red and black trails, so we really do get value for money. Today we have taken our 3 year old grand-daughter around the culture trail and in the park and she has really enjoyed it - would recommend the place to everyone.

However, I had cause last year to write about the catering and feel that very little has changed in the last 9 months. You really need to 'bang the drum' hard with your 3rd party catering company (I have managed catering companies for the last 20 years and know how bad they can be - in fact we moved back to in house eventually!) - they appear to be overstaffed yet underworked, as each time we visit there are 4 staff simply standing around. Today we were met with the sausage rolls were hot earlier, no offer to top up in the microwave for 30 seconds (this was at 12.15pm by the way, the rush started 10 minutes later) and the chips were only luke warm - in fact they tasted as though they had been in the server for 30 minutes or more on a low heat - the meal really was tepid and unpalatable. None of the dishes showed any sign of heat (bubbling etc...) and the staff had the attitude of take it or leave it (they didn't say as much, but there's no pride in what they are offering. If 4 staff standing around is designed to cope with the rush later in the lunchtime, then they could be doing more to ensure the food is better. The feedback I have seen previously was that Churchill were re-vamping the offering in 2016, well, they have moved the cutlery and salt and pepper to the other side and I think there was one more warm (I use that word loosely) dish on offer - but really its a poor show!

Its such a shame that High Lodge operates so efficiently, offers so much, is good value for money, but is let down so badly by its catering facility - please kick them into life for 2017

Richard Saul, 3/Jan/2017

Thank you for your feedback. We will pass on your comments to Churchill Catering who as you know provide the cafeteria on site and will also draw this to the attention of the High Lodge Site Manager.

Forestry Commission Response
3 Stars 3 Stars

Visited today with two small

grandchildren and had chips for a quick lunch. At 2.50 per portion the were a very expensive waste. They were awful. I did complain but noons was really interested. I will revert to taking my own picnic in future

L

Anonymous, 28/Dec/2016

Thank you for your feedback we will pass on your comments to Churchill catering who run the cafe on site. If you wish to provide more details regarding your experience please e-mail the High Lodge feedback account at highlodgefeedback@­forestry.gsi.gov.uk

Forestry Commission Response
3 Stars 3 Stars

Visited yesterday to Go Ape, the ticket we got on arrival stated we entered the site at 09:06 when we entered around 11:15, when going to pay to leave it appears that charges are worked out manually and what we thought would be about 8 for 3-4hours turned into 11 pound. It all seemed very unorganised and guess work which as you can imagine after spending nearly 100 on an activity already is very disappointing.

Anonymous, 27/Nov/2016

Thank you for bringing this to our attention. Please could you contact us at highlodgefeedback@forestry.gsi.gov.uk and we will happily resolve this.

Forestry Commission Response
5 Stars 5 Stars

Is it OK to walk on the cycle trails at High Lodge? (Using common sense care and due consideration to cyclists).

J & S, 25/Nov/2016

Thank you for your comment, The FC managed areas within the High Lodge block are open access, however, we strongly advise for everyone’s safety that walkers/runners do not use the single track MTB trails at High Lodge. (Beater and Lime Burner, red graded trail). Walking and Cycle trail maps are available for purchase from the information Point at High Lodge.

Forestry Commission Response
5 Stars 5 Stars

You asked me to contact you with registration numbers

23163:- EK07 OYZ & MT09 VDU

23164;- MW05 MXC & AO11 AGU

As I explained to you one is my son & wife other daughter & husband and depends whose car they go in but these are there registration numbers.

SANDRA BUTCHER, 18/Nov/2016

Thank you vey much for contacting us with your registration numbers. Two cars can be registered with each Discovery pass but only one of the two registered cars can be used at any one visit. Hope this helps.

Forestry Commission Response
3 Stars 3 Stars

The staff here are so abnoxious and rude it baffles me. Other then that its a great place for kids.

SHAUN JONES BABY , 17/Nov/2016

We are sorry to hear you did not have a good experience at High Lodge. It would be useful if you could e-mail the feedback account and provide more details of your particular experience, this would allow us to follow up on your comments more fully. Thank you.

Forestry Commission Response
5 Stars 5 Stars

Rode the MTB trail today, tried the newly relaid section, great fun, thanks for all the effort and all the improvements to the trail, and keep up the good work

Andy, 31/Oct/2016

Thank you for your comments, glad to hear you had a great day out and the improvements have received a thumbs up. I will pass your feedback to the trail rangers.

Forestry Commission Response
5 Stars 5 Stars

Another visit another happy day and happy 6yr old! Also purchased a discovery pass.

Can I ask are you open New years day? Also what are you opening hours over the Christmas holiday?

Many thanks

Clare , 19/Oct/2016

Thank you for your feedback, glad to hear you had a great day. High Lodge will be open on New Years day from 0900-1700, an updated list of opening times can be found on the High Lodge Today web page

Forestry Commission Response

can i borrow some of your trees plz

forest police, 5/Oct/2016

Glad to hear that you loved the site, yes there are some awesome trees.

Forestry Commission Response

I visited the Electric Forest event a few years ago and check back every year in the hope it will be running again. Is there any liklihood of you running something similar- it was amazing! I can see there is something similar running in Scotland (enchanted forest) - it would be awesome to have something similar morelocally.

Anonymous, 25/Aug/2016

Thank you for your feedback, unfortunately there are no plans to repeat the Electric Forest this year, however future winter events may take place. Check the High Lodge Today web page next year for winter events and activities.

Forestry Commission Response
5 Stars 5 Stars

Amazing bike trails is exactly right! Brought my new mountain bike to the trails for a try out. What a great place, I ended up cycling around on different routes for over 3 hours! What was best though is that the staff were so helpful telling me about the routes and where to start and so on. Really great :-)

Phil, 25/Aug/2016

Thank you for your comments. It is good to hear that you had a really great ride. The trails are continually updated so it is good to receive such positive feedback regarding the trails and the customer service you received.

Forestry Commission Response
1 Star 1 Star

2.20ph to park a car is excessive!! I pay 3 to park for the day at another forest owed by the same company/charity that is more local to me with much the same attractions and having public toilets and a cafe on site. Disgraceful.

Anonymous, 13/Aug/2016

Thank you for your feedback. We believe that our costs to visit High Lodge offer exceptional value for money. Site Entry fees are vital in helping us achieve a sustainable business.The Forestry Commission Site Entry fees supports areas across the whole site from the road in and out, maintenance, cycle trails, car parks, play equipment, picnic benches, upkeep of toilets and first aid provision to name but a few Clearly value for money is a personal perception and at the discretion of the customer. A Discovery Pass offers good value for money at £58 per year you can visit as often as you like and stay as long as you want.

Forestry Commission Response
5 Stars 5 Stars

I visited the site on Thursday 4th August for the first time with my 3yr old daughter, Sister, brother in law and their 4 children and we had a fabulous time! We loved walking around all the trails and finding all the sculptures, play areas, musical instruments and the Gruffalo!. We spent the whole day there. We brought a picnic and there was plenty of space to sit even though it was really busy.

My only disappointment was that it was very hot and busy and the ice cream shop was not open. Instead everyone was trying to get them from the caf and they ran out.

I have given 5 stars as there is so much to do for all ages and you need the whole day there. The cost of the car park is all you pay and it is worth every penny. I cannot wait to visit again.

Rebecca, 11/Aug/2016

Thank you for your feedback, it is great to hear you had a brilliant time at High Lodge. It was unfortunate that the ice cream parlour was not open for what was a very hot day. I am sure the closure of the Ice Cream Parlour was a disappointment to the staff at Churchill's too, your comments will be passed on to Churchill's.

Forestry Commission Response
5 Stars 5 Stars

I am a regular visitor to high lodge with my 2 year old grandson, we have your discovery pass which is great value, I am always amazed that when we visit we find something new that we hadn't come across on previous visits! On our last visit you had an open day which was brilliant but on the downside the service in the shop where I purchased an ice cream was awful the worst service I've received in a long time. There were 3 staff members at the coffee machine as I stood by the till, I had to ask if the till was open, they looked at me one young lady came to the till said "a 1" I handed her the money she handed me the change, that was my customer service experience, this was on your open day, bad enough service any day but I take it the open day was meant to impress, sadly that was the experience I took away from our visit. The 5 star rating is for the great activities and play areas, the shop experience wouldn't get any stars , sorry

Anonymous, 3/Aug/2016

It’s wonderful to hear that you are a regular visitor to High Lodge and you enjoy all the site has to offer. It is unfortunate to hear that you experienced poor customer service when purchasing an ice cream – your comments have been passed to the manager at Churchill Catering who will endeavour to make sure this is an isolated incident. We look forward to seeing you and your family at High Lodge again soon.

Forestry Commission Response
5 Stars 5 Stars

Had a great time today riding the mtb teaks !

Dave, 31/Jul/2016
5 Stars 5 Stars

10/7/16

Many thanks to the parents who came forward to help my son Drew (before I could reach him)who had a tumble from the rope swing and knocked him unconscious and hurt his back. Thanks also to the lady who left her blanket to keep him warm,I hope she got it back,thanks also to the off duty paramedic who offered her help before the ambulance arrived. I would also like to thank the staff member from GoApe for his quick response, and on getting a member of the forestry commission first aider who was brilliant. After a long time unable to be moved as a precaution for possible back injuries.Drew was given a examination by the paramedics and was given the all clear. He is feeling a bit bruised and sore but thankfully none the worse for the ordeal.

I can't praise all involved enough, it's good to know professional help is available when needed.

Jeff Chapman, 10/Jul/2016
5 Stars 5 Stars

Superb place. Have been for walks, brought the niece and nephew to the playgrounds, been for leisurely bike rides with my parents and have hit the harder mountain bike trials with my other half and have always had a good time. The place is well looked after and always immaculate and the staff are friendly. Every time you go something seems to have been added and it has to be said they have done an absolute superb job on the new parts of the lime burner. We are a season ticket holder and come whenever we can.

Paul Vinr , 26/Jun/2016
5 Stars 5 Stars

Hello,

My name is Jenny and I am a member of the PTA of Bunwell Primary School in South Norfolk (Registered Charity No: 1036496).

We are holding a summer fun event on Tuesday 5th July to raise funds for our fab little school and I was writing to ask if you would be able to donate either a prize or a voucher for our grand raffle?

If you need an official letter on our headed notepaper, I would be more than happy to pop one in the post to you, just let me know.

Thank you so much in advance,

Kindest regards,

Jenny Whitnell

On behalf of Bunwell Primary PTA

Jenny Whitnell, 9/Jun/2016

Hello, Yes it would be helpful if you could send in a written request on headed paper to the feedeback account at highlodgefeedback@forestry.gsi.gov.uk Thankyou.

Forestry Commission Response
5 Stars 5 Stars

Thanks for looking after my bike and patching me up after a ridiculous spill on the lime burner berm section. Broken rip and lacerated eyebrow later, I'm on the mend and will be back asap. Thanks to Mark for taking the time to call me afterwards to check I was okay and to the lovely lady that got my bike for me on the Monday after the weekend. Cheers again.

Benedict Maher, 24/May/2016

Thankyou for your comments. Glad to hear you had a great time despite your fall. The staff always try to go that extra mile and welcome feedback. Good to hear you will be returning after you have recovered.

Forestry Commission Response
5 Stars 5 Stars

I took my 11 year old girl for her birthday to High Lodge and she couldn't wait to go on the segways and on the high ropes

Tracy Carlick, 23/May/2016

Great to read that you had a nice birthday at High Lodge. Thanks.

Forestry Commission Response
2 Stars 2 Stars

We love coming to High Lodge for the number of activities for small children however, we were left somewhat disappointed today. We arrived at midday and headed for some lunch. There were no jacket potatoes available, only 3 baguettes and were told there were no sandwiches. There was poor information about what hot food was available at the counter and those serving were not forthcoming in what was on offer. Service with a smile (or even an acknowledgement) was definitely lacking !!!! Settling for a coffee and a piece of cake, we felt over 4 per slice was somewhat steep! Today's experience won't stop us from visiting again but next time we will definitely be bringing a picnic.

Anonymous, 19/May/2016

Thank you for your feedback regarding your visit to High Lodge and we are pleased to hear that you enjoy the activities. It is really disappointing to learn of your unsatisfactory visit to the Cafe, Churchill Catering are working hard to improve the service and food offer. We recommend talking to the catering manager on the day of your visit to get issues resolved quickly and effectively. The prices in the Cafe are in line with most other attractions where catering facilities are available. We are glad this experience won't stop you visiting and hope you will use the Cafe in the future if only for a ice cream.

Forestry Commission Response

Hi,

I have booked a large BBQ for the 30th July 16, i was told i would receive a confirmation, but have not received that yet.

Yours Sincerely Mrs Harrison

Mrs Harrison, 17/Mar/2016

Please call the High Lodge Information Point on 0300 067 4400.

Forestry Commission Response
5 Stars 5 Stars

We live near High lodge and love it so much. It makes for a great day out, the kids love and so do we. We usually take a picnic and love the play areas.

Ness, 9/Feb/2016
5 Stars 5 Stars

Just moved to the area and took my family to High lodge at the weekend. What a great place so much to do - the kids loved it. Would definitely recommend it for a good value family day out

Dave, 2/Feb/2016
3 Stars 3 Stars

Excellent play areas and musical activities on the short trail. Stick Man trail is OK but really just a few signs plus the activities in the pack - would be nice to have some carvings like the others around from previous events. However, the cafe is a letdown. Overpriced, and apparently understaffed today so there were no trays, a shortage of crockery, and very slow service. The food could be so much more imaginative than the current sea of beige (macaroni cheese with chips?!).

Katie, 31/Dec/2015
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