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Thetford >  Google™ Map Sep 2015  Thetford Sign

þēod tribe, people + ford Old English (river) crossing. Population - 24,833.

England-Norfolk Flag UK > England > Norfolk

Sep 2015

Wetherspoon™s - The Red Lion : Former name of old pub (0/5).

Thetford Sign

Some old tribe or other gave name to this place and not as is commonly believed, the early days of automotive manufacturing. No, 'The T-Ford' wasn't first built here, that's just an inferior attempt at a Bob Holness.

There's room for whatever your variant of motorised carriage, these days, just off Pike Lane, something that will soon become hilariously apt. There's a reminder of the American War of Independence but that's all water under the bridge just like the unexpectedly enticing River Thet.

It's out onto Guildhall Street and the old Guildhall makes for a fine, if a little overexposed, sight. It sits in one corner of the marketplace and in the other, the Red Lion[1] and a mob of Eastern migrants.

Thetford - The Guildhall

Before you think SlyBob's gone all Daily Mail, that'll be the old East End of London, of course. Reminders of post-war relocation, operation 'overspill' although in the Mail's case it's usually overkill.

The Red Lion? It sounded more like we woz outside the Blind Beggar.

[1] Wetherspoon™s mandatory offering in towns of this size.

It's fairly familiar fayre along the pedestrianised part of King Street but Thetford was the birthplace of Thomas Paine. No? SlyBob's never heard of him, neither.

Thetford - Thomas Paine

Only one of the Founding Fathers of the United States he was, it says here, and emigrated there just in time to kickstart the American Revolution. Not so much a turncoat, just turned a bit on the red coats.

Unknown at the time, there's a more famous figure in ferrous just down the way. Why it's only old Arthur Lowe in his Captain Mainwaring guise. Thetford provided most of the outside filming locations for Walmington-on-Sea, you see, and houses the Dad's Army Museum.

But, but, but, Thetford's not even on the sea? I know, I know and if you can curb that lifestyle a little and keep yourself in for once on a Saturday night, BBC2 repeats will reveal they never were, neither. Whenever they found themselves in a watery caper, it was invariably on a river. Or a lake.

  Dad's Army Museum (Cage Lane)

The museum keeps slightly irregular opening times and on checking, it was closed. A bit of a shame because Bob's a bit of a fan, stupid boy! If you do check the opening hours and they ask, don't tell them your name and definitely not where you've parked.

No visit to Thetford's not complete without a visit to Thetford Forest so this visit wasn't. A family gathering in Cambridge beckoned and promised pints over pines.

Just five minutes over the River Thet, however, and you're in what feels like open country with modern town shopping a million miles, well, less than a mile away, actually.

Thetford - River Thet
Thetford - Ardea cinerea

With all this talk of statues, this looked as though it had been nicked from a garden centre. It took a minute but, just like Thomas Paine, it soon revealed its true colours.

  Thetford Forest

Just west of town is the largest lowland pine forest in the UK, no less. It might be the largest, it's also one of the newest with most of the planting happening after World War I and no visit to Thetford's not complete without a visit to Thetford Forest, just not today.

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