Southrepps Common has been looked after for many years by dedicated local volunteers 1/2
Volunteers were joined by NWT CEO Pamela Abbott and Chair of Trustees David Thompson 2/2

Southrepps Commons local nature reserve is important new addition to Trust’s portfolio

Thursday 07 March, 2019

Norfolk Wildlife Trust is delighted to receive Southrepps Commons from the Parish Council; a local nature reserve made up of five distinct commons which for more than a decade has been cared for by dedicated, local volunteers.

Southrepps Parish Council has given the nature reserve to NWT to ensure its ongoing protection and management. The Parish Council has owned the site for more than 30 years and for the last 13 years, Southrepps Commons Trust, a dedicated group of volunteers, has carried out all the management work required to keep the reserve in good condition. It is hoped that many of its members will continue to offer their time and expertise working with NWT.

The nature reserve comprises five separate commons, covering approximately 12 hectares (30 acres) in the village of Southrepps. They are a mosaic of woodland, tall-herb fen and reed bed, and home to many special plant species, including Grass of Parnassus, common fragrant orchid and bog-bean, as well as a wide range of birds and invertebrates.  The largest common is designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and Special Area of Conservation (SAC).

The five sites are: Southrepps Common SSSI, SAC central to all the sites, and the most interesting and diverse botanically. Here you can see wild orchids, cottongrass, bog-bean, devil’s-bit scabious and tall reeds. Typical birds of reed beds such as reed warblers, sedge warblers and reed buntings can often be seen or heard. School Common, woodland and can be partly accessed via a boardwalk. There is an orienteering trail designed by the school opposite too. Pit Common: the pond here is home to moorhens, mallards and the occasional visiting heron. Mill Common and Bradfield Road Common are both woodland.

Over the years the Commons have been successfully entered for a number of grants and awards, among the most recent being Queens Award for Voluntary service in 2011 and Norfolk Biodiversity Awards for Commons and Churchyard category winners in 2014. John Houlgate (chair) was awarded the British Empire Medal in 2017 in recognition of founding and developing Southrepps Commons Trust.

Chairman of Southrepps Commons Trust, John Houlgate said:
“We established Southrepps Commons Trust thirteen years ago and there is much to be proud of. We have kept a precious wildlife site thriving, and maintained a rare asset for the enjoyment of residents and visitors alike. We recruited a loyal group of volunteers who demonstrated what true community service is capable of. These impressive achievements have been a truly cooperative effort, winning awards and even Royal recognition. We are proud of what we’ve achieved and look forward to the next chapter.”

Chief Executive of Norfolk Wildlife Trust, Pamela Abbott said:
“The Commons of Southrepps hold a fantastic diversity of wildlife to delight visitors. Norfolk Wildlife Trust is hugely appreciative of the gift of these sites and looks forward to continuing to work with the local volunteers, who have been caring for the commons so successfully for very many years.”
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