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Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Close Encounters On My Doorstep: The #Rendlesham Forest #UFO Trail


I often talk about how much I love the place where I live and how close I am to settings that have inspired so much of my writing. But over my seven week break, I finally visited a site of huge importance in the history of UFO sightings--in the UK at least--and on my very own doorstep. It's even known as Britain's Roswell.

Taken from the Rendlesham Forest UFO Trail leaflet published by the Forestry Commission:


Rendlesham Forest is located in the county of Suffolk, about 8 miles east of Ipswich and about a half hour drive from my home town of Colchester. The forest is mostly coniferous with some broadleaved belts, heathland and wetland, covering approximately 5.8 square miles or 15 square km, and owned by the Forestry Commission. The UFO trail is 3 miles long around the eastern end of of the forest, and navigates the key areas reportedly involved in the UFO Incident of 1980. Both civilian and military personnel witnessed and reported the strange sightings, which The Ministry of Defence (MoD) stated 'posed no threat to national security', and so were never was investigated. The sightings have been blamed on a fireball, the Orford Ness lighthouse and even bright stars.
I'm going to straight up admit I'm not a believer in alien visitors, or a fan of such stories (whether truth or fiction), nor am I convinced by conspiracy theories. Maybe that's a bit odd for a SF author. My husband is the fan of such things though, of the unexplained and the odd. So he was the one who suggested visiting the forest. Me, I love woodland, even more than the beach. The annual holiday in Wales with my parents and sister was the highlight of my year up until my teens. I'd wander along the river under the trees at the campsite all day, or we'd be taken to one of the many walking trails through mostly pine forests that dot the area. The scent of pine needles and damp earth, the dappled sunlight, the distant sounds of flowing water and the wind in the treetops...bliss. So regardless of the UFO sighting, I was up for it.

I have to admit that walking through the quiet of the forest occasionally broken by the eerie sound of the wind through the trees - an almost mechanical/aircraft like whine that blots out the birdsong - I can imagine that, combined with strange lights in the sky, it would be easy to convince myself of something unearthly occurring. There is a theory that perhaps the alien visitors were drawn by the deadly stockpile of US nuclear weapons and they came to neutralize them and so prevent us destroying ourselves, or simply to check them out. It sounds plausible (though I would ask "why would they care?").




But it was a pleasant walk, well marked with sign posts and information to make it more interesting, and the UFO sculpture at the halfway point was fun (though sadly graffitied).

And together me, hubs, and the monsters came up with our own story. Of alien visitors who came to cut their own Christmas tree from a pine forest on a remote blue-green planet because the best ones only grown on Earth. The next day with all the new toys played with, Little Alien asked its parents to take it back to build dens, since their planet no longer has trees. They used highly trained space beavers to cut the logs (because lasers are sooooo last millennium), and were spotted because Little Alien begged for five more minutes like any child in the universe, then demanded to be allowed to fly the spacecraft until they reached the outer atmosphere. Of course, one of the highly trained space beavers got left behind and Little Alien wouldn't sleep without it so they had to come back again to rescue the beaver...

The truth is out there. Maybe. :P

9 comments:

  1. Love your version :) Space beavers...

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    1. Thanks! Well, it amused the monsters and kept down some of the moaning about having to walk. :P

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  2. This looks really fun. I've seen the documentary about it on TV and I'm glad they set up historical markers (the top secret document angle is very clever!) to mark the site and event.

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    1. I never need an excuse for a walk in the wood but all the markers make it much more interesting, especially for the monsters. They'd race each other to be first to find the next symbol, even though we never found the key to the code. And yeah, clever marketing doing the information posts like mission files.

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  3. Great post, Pippa! As it happens, my USAF fighter pilot brother was posted at Bentwaters, the air base close by the forest there at the very time of the incident. I've asked him about it, but HE WON'T SAY WHAT HAPPENED! How's that for fanning the flames of rumor?

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    1. And how about that for an amazing coincidence?! That your brother was nearby and I've happened to blog about it. What a shame he won't/can't discuss it.

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  4. Interesting! Now I'm curious and will have to look up the particulars. Though I really like your family's version (especially the "just 5 more minutes").

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    1. Thanks! It's given me a hankering to rewatch Arthur C Clarke's Mysterious World again.

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