top of page

Rendlesham Forest Camping Trip 2024

Author: Dave Hodrien

Release Date: 03/06/2024

Rendlesham Forest in Suffolk, England has been a place of wonder for those with an interest in the UFO subject ever since the incredible events of 1980 came to light publicly. Over four days, the 26th-29th December, there were many incredible events which took place in the area which involved many military witnesses from the two nearby American-owned Air Force Bases, Woodbridge and Bentwaters. These events included unidentified lights, numerous confirmed landings of physical objects, and even the appearance of non-human entities.

As far as places in the United Kingdom go, it is one of the top spots for those passionate about the subject to visit, especially as there have been many other incidents both prior to and after December 1980. Many consider the area to be active to this day when it comes to strange phenomena. So it made sense for Birmingham UFO Group to arrange another camping trip to the area, the first since our 10th anniversary trip back in 2017. This time around we were joined by members of UPRISING UFO and Paranormal Investigation, who have joined us in recent years on numerous sky watches.


Earlier in the year myself and UPRISING founders Nathan and Luna Lockley decided on Friday 31st May to Sunday 2nd June as the ideal dates for the trip. Late enough for warmer weather, but prior to the summer holiday period where the campsites in the area would get booked up too quickly. Back in 2017 we had camped at Tangham Campsite, directly in Rendlesham Forest itself. However this was sadly closed since the lockdown, so we had to go with an alternative. We decided on Shottisham Campsite at St Margarets House, several miles South West of the forest.


And so it was that in the early afternoon of Friday 31st May I set off with my wife Tasha and friend Ron for Suffolk. I had learnt last time that the journey from Birmingham would be quite extensive, and wanted to arrive well before the sun started to set. We had no traffic issues on the way down and arrived at the campsite about 5pm.


The site is quite open, with several long sections to it. After locating our pitches we met up with Nathan, Luna and Gaz before setting up our modestly-sized tents.


We then took a walk along a side path to see some of the farm animals owned by the campsite owners, including chickens, goats, pigs and even some alpacas!

After returning to the tents, some of us decided to head to the Sorrel Horse, a pub just along the road from the campsite, to get some dinner. There we met up with others from BUFOG including one of our investigators James Brodie. The food was good, if a little pricey.

We relaxed and chatted a while before returning to the campsite, and met up at our “base of operations” – an area of grass between mine and Tasha’s tent, and Nathan and Luna’s tent. They had already got a fire pit going, so we joined them with our camp chairs and spent the rest of the evening chatting, toasting marshmallows, and watching Nathan throw odd chemicals on the fire to change its colour to blue and green (looked amazing, but I’m sure inhaling the smoke wasn’t the best of ideas).

After it had got fully dark an intermittent white light was spotted in the distance, but it was deemed to be some kind of security light near the ground rather than anything unusual. It was sadly too overcast to see any stars, but everyone had a great time discussing many topics until we decided to call it a night.


When we crawled out of our tents in the morning we found our base of operations completely invaded by a number of very tame brown and black chickens! We soon realised it was possible to both stroke and pick them up, leading to quite a number of photo opportunities! What we didn’t realise was that they were only there to steal our breakfast…until one of them made off with a piece of bacon we were frying up. After that we were a lot more wary.


We had originally planned to visit the location where the infamous Orford Ness lighthouse used to stand, but in the end decided to stay at the campsite and prepare ourselves for the planned afternoon and evening activities. For lunch Tasha and I cooked a BBQ for everyone, which went down a storm. The red hot chilli flavoured jellies I’d brought along for afters didn’t go down quite so well, but there were a few daring takers!

Two of the attendees from BUFOG, Amanda and Rachel, then dished out some wonderful themed bracelets and key rings they’d got specially made for the weekend.


After some final preparations it was at last time to set off to Rendlesham Forest! Nathan and Luna scouted ahead, and soon after I led a small convoy of cars to Capel St Andrew car park in the middle of the forest. Luckily the weather was on our side – it was a little breezy but above all it was dry. Given the rainy weather earlier in the week this was definitely a blessing.


For our first visit I planned to take everyone on a particular route around the forest, which would largely follow the official UFO Trail, but would also deviate at a few places in order to include several other key points of interest. I also planned to read out at each important location a number of actual witness statements to give more context to what took place there. As it turns out, a position really close to the entrance of the car park was the first of these points of interest, so we gathered there, and I proceeded to inform everyone that this was the position where unusual lights were first seen through the trees back on the 26th December 1980.


We then began to head East along one of the paths through the forest. It was really picturesque and atmospheric. The rows of symmetrical re-planted pines at certain locations were silent and a little eerie, and I wondered how much spookier they would look later on when returning to the forest after dark.


As we walked along the trail, carefully avoiding some small areas of mud, we entered an area with sand-covered paths. Someone had drawn marker arrows with the word UFO and pictures of alien faces, re-enforcing the idea that we were on the right track. Eventually we came to the clearing with the metallic model of the triangular-shaped craft which Jim Penniston and John Burroughs claim to have encountered, the main landmark on the UFO Trail placed there to symbolise what took place.


Copious amounts of photographs were of course taken. I also read out some further statements, in addition to informing everyone that the actual landing location was actually at a different point in the forest further to the South.


We continued along the trail, but then deviated from it to get a closer look at Capel Green, the open farmland on which the landing of another craft had taken place, as reported by the whistle-blower of the incident, Larry Warren, as well as a number of other military personnel. This event was particularly significant as it also included non-human entities which emerged from the object, as confirmed by Larry’s statement which I read out.

Unfortunately there was heavy vegetation close to the fence line, making it hard to see the field, so we decided to continue walking South along the path to see if we could get a better view further down. As it turned out we couldn’t, but we did have some fun climbing over a fallen tree and limbo-ing under another! I also spotted a young deer run across the path at one point.


We returned to the official trail and made our way back West into the forest, which led to what was referred to as the “staging area”, where many military vehicles were parked up back in 1980. After some further statements covering what happened here, including the sighting of a fast moving blue light by John Burroughs, we made our way South to the lower edge of the forest, then along to the visitor centre.

I’m not certain whether the centre was active or not, but either way it was too late in the day for it to be open. However many of the attendees enjoyed taking a rest on the picnic tables present there. We then made our way back along the trail until finally reaching the East Gate of RAF Woodbridge, the location from which personnel had originally been sent out from to investigate the strange lights.


We stayed there a number of minutes to take some final photos, before completing the loop and arriving back at the car park. I think many were pretty relieved to give their feet a rest at last! Some of us then decided to return to the campsite to cook some dinner, while others, myself included, headed to Woodbridge for a pub meal (Decent food, but the pea portion size was comically tiny).


By the time we arrived back at camp to meet up with everyone it was already around 8.30pm. Although many decided they’d had enough walking for one day and wanted to stay put, there were enough of us who were up for returning to the forest for some after dark exploration.

It wasn’t long before I was back on the road with two other cars following on, once more driving back to Rendlesham Forest, armed this time with some warmer clothing and a torch. We parked at the same car park as before, by which time the sun had fully set and darkness had well and truly set in. I was immediately amazed at how silent the forest was. There were barely any sounds at all.


We began heading back along the trail we had walked earlier on towards the UFO model clearing. Everything seemed so still, except for a number of small bats which flew in tight arcs over our heads, briefly caught in the light from our torches and head lamps.


As we walked we discussed aspects of the Rendlesham Forest events as well as the subject in general. Some parts of the walk seemed different to me after dark, it seemed to take longer than I remembered to reach the model, but I’m sure this was just from distractions earlier on rather than anything genuinely unusual.


The model looked amazing coming up out of the darkness. We hung around the clearing for a good while checking it out once more.

All of a sudden by the edge of the clearing I turned my torch and came face-to-face with a Grey being! However it turned out not to be an alien entity, but instead a brilliantly creepy mask brought along by Amanda, much to everyone’s amusement.


I read out a couple of case reports covering later incidents I’d directly investigated which took place in the vicinity of the forest, highlighting the fact that activity has continued in the area after the events of 1980. We then made our way along to the Capel Green fence line. However the only non-human life form we encountered on this occasion was a rogue cockchafer which decided to make Amanda’s shoe its new home!


There was no way we were going to do the full forest walk a second time, so we began to retrace our steps to the car park, again astounded by the peacefulness of the forest at night. At one point we all stopped and put our torches off for a short while to see if we could hear or see anything. There was a red glow in the sky in the distance to the West, which was probably street lights from Woodbridge reflecting off the cloud.

Once back at the cars, we said goodbye to some, while the rest of us made one final hike back along to East Gate. On the walk back to the car I suddenly spotted a bright red light in the distance which only appeared for a moment, but when it re-appeared it became apparent that it had just been the brake lights of a passing vehicle on the road through the forest.


The journey back to camp went fine, and we arrived about 1am to find that everyone else had long since retired to bed. I awkwardly settled down trying not to wake Tasha in the process! On Sunday morning I was informed by Nathan that something unusual had been seen by them on the previous evening while we were in the forest. They had spotted and photographed some noctilucent clouds at various positions in the sky, which to the naked eye had appeared a number of colours.

I was of course slightly miffed that more had been seen from the campsite than from inside the forest itself, but I’m glad that we went back out there just to experience it after dark with those who were brave enough to join me!


We had only booked two nights at the campsite for the trip, so packed up our gear, said our goodbyes and headed for home. Everyone seemed to thoroughly enjoy the weekend, and it was great to have returned to such an interesting and important UFO-related location. I’ve no doubt that we will make another trip to Rendlesham Forest in the future.

Copyright Dave Hodrien 2024




bottom of page