St Helen’s Picnic Site in Thetford Forest is a popular visitor destination managed by the Forestry Commission.  A steady increase in visitors over the last few years has seen a rise in costs to maintain the facilities there which are putting pressure on budgets to maintain the toilet block, deal with vandalism and remove rubbish. There is also concern from Historic England that visitors are having an impact on St Helen's scheduled monument, a medieval moat, through river bank erosion near the scheduled monument area.  This risks exposing possible archaeology, and a way of protecting the bank needs to be put in place.

To ensure the site is managed to a good standard the Forestry Commission need to look at how we can sustainably care for St Helen's.  This could be through either removing facilities to reduce maintenance costs and free up budget for other priorities or bringing in income to sustain what is currently there. Possible options are the closure of the toilet block or reintroduction of pay and display.

Have your say

Before any decisions are made, the Forestry Commission want to hear the views of visitors to St Helen's with regard to:

  • Reducing expenditure by removing facilities or generating income to keep facilities and sustain the site
  • We'd also like to know a little about you and why you visit St Helen's to help us understand how the site is used and its value to visitors.

You can make a suggestion by selecting the "Add an idea" button at the top (or bottom) of the page.

As well as contributing your own ideas, the forum enables you to rate and comment on ideas suggested by others. It is important that you rate other people's suggestions as it allows us to understand consensus views. You can see everyone's ideas by selecting the "See all ideas" button at the top of the page. 

Please note that inappropriate or irrelevant comments and ideas will be removed

What Happens Next?

The initial discussion will continue until the 15th of January 2017 (date extended) and once we’ve considered your feedback we’ll decide how to progress.  Depending upon the level of responses we receive we aim to publish our findings and proposals by the 27th of January 2017 on the St Helen's Picnic Site web page.

Other information

Drop in Session Sunday 8th January 2017 10am – 2pm  at the Classroom, Forestry Commission Office car park, Santon Downham, IP27 0TJ

There are many other places to visit for free around Thetford Forest.  Go to and choose "Places to Visit" from the left hand menu bar. 

Annual Income and Expenditure for St Helen's

Contact information

We encourage you to subscribe and log on to this discussion and post your ideas here so other people can see them and rate them.  Please only use this email if you are unable to use the discussion forum.

Thank you for taking the time to take part in this online discussion