On December 27th in 1980, there were sightings of what can only be described as an unidentified flying object seen in the skies of Suffolk in Rendlesham Forest. It remains a mystery to this day exactly what it was that was seen and is considered one of the most significant UFO incidents which has occurred in the UK.
Public interest in the UFO sighting grew so that in 2005 the Forestry Commission created the UFO Trail. The Lottery Awards helped to provide £2000 worth of funding in order to implement the trail around the eastern end of Rendlesham Forest. The trail in 3 miles long and is an easy walk to enjoy. Follow the silver arrows through the forest to navigate the key areas involved in the incident.
A large silver sign shows a map of the walk and includes information about the initial sighting all those years ago. If you’re interested, we wrote an article about the history of the Rendlesham UFO for Halloween which goes into detail about the individuals involved and alternative theories to what the strange lights might have been.
On the back of each post you will see what must be a universal image of an alien. Below each alien is a symbol - don’t forget to pick up an Alien Trail Leaflet from the Forest Office so that you can decode the strange symbols on the posts to uncover a secret message. A great way to keep younger ones engaged - or simply to distract you from achy legs. The Trail Leaflet will provide you with a timeline of events so you can immerse yourself in the history of the UFO sightings as you trek through the forest itself.
Rendlesham Forest borders a military airbase - although you will find the base much quieter today than the 1980s during the Cold War. The trail will lead you by a disused road parallel to the air base fence through which you might glimpse the odd building or even base personnel.
A metal sculpture now sits in the clearing where the UFO was supposedly seen nearly forty years ago. Commissioned in 2014, the artist has stated that the piece is modeled after sketches which are representative of the UFO which was seen over Rendlesham Forest that night back in 1980. The last site to visit on the Trail is where the UFO was believed to have landed. In the intervening years since the sighting, trees have been planted in this clearing however mysteriously they all failed to thrive . . .
While it might be a bit ambitious to hope to spot a UFO, you can still enjoy a walk around the forest - maybe with the family at this Christmas and New Year. The pine plantation forest is atmospheric and with the low winter sun it's easy to believe there’s something else out there (more likely deer than aliens but you never know). With a camp site, picnic area and cycling routes, be sure to come back to this iconic site and discover more of the forest.