OK-I figured this out and have fixed it-all sorted.
It is a little confusing but I will try and explain how I think this now works for me.
I have some confusion between BuddyPress forums and bbPress forums on my blog (the blog is enabled for both bbPress and BuddyPress but I have not been able yet to run both BP & bbP forums together? Is that even possible?.
Anyway for now I only want to run bbPress forum and I have disabled BuddyPress discussion forums).
So the bbPress archive slug I originally had was ‘forums’ & that was adding to the whole BuddyPress / bbPress confusion! So I deleted that forum (trashed it) and changed the bbPress archive slug to forums_bbp and have now made a new forum page and topic and now the links are fine and the content displays!
I hope now I am getting to grips more with bbPress forums and I can start to use them more on my blog. After I get more experience with them I may try my hand with BuddyPress forums & possibly later try running both forums on my blog?! I will see (maybe it is not possible-but the docs say can run group & sitewide forums together?).
Best wishes to all bbPress users (& BuddyPress users)