The Thetford Forest is a relatively modern invention with the ground works laid out during the First World War, in part to provide the much needed lumber for Britain during the conflict. It had matured fairly well as a coniferous forest by the time of the next great war, and as such served as both cover and as a training ground for British Forces.
One unit that trained in this area was the 7th Armoured Division (The Desert Rats). This unit was instrumental in the North Africa campaign, and served throughout the war including the Normandy invasion and then across northern Europe.
The Desert Rats Memorial is easily found from the roadway (A1065) by the prominence of the brick plinth and Churchill tank. This is added to by a 1.5 km memorial trail which passes through the Desert Rats’ training grounds. There are multiple education boards located along the route noting information on such things as the headquarters, dining facilities and training regimes; as well as data on the Cromwell tank. It is a good place to visit for anyone with an interest in the Second World War, or just wanting a quiet walk in the woods (with a difference).
The walk is relatively level, and clearly marked, and makes for a pleasant short stroll.