Norfolk Wildlife Trust is holding a week of free walks, talks, activities and events to celebrate our heritage of common land in the county.
There are more than 300 commons in Norfolk, ranging from tiny fragments to several hectares, such as Norfolk Wildlife Trust nature reserves like Roydon Common and New Buckenham Common. They are home to a wealth of wildlife: from barn owls to bats, green winged orchids to great crested newts.
As part of the events for Commons Week, come and join us to look for reptiles on Roydon, undertake practical conservation on Broome Heath, make a bird box and minibeast home, watch bats on Flordon Common; join in crafts, games and family activities on NWT’s newest nature reserve with the Southrepp’s Volunteers. There is even a wildlife-helping litter pick at Barnham Cross Common in Thetford.
NWT’s wildlife evangelist, Nick Acheson will lead a guided walk of Litcham Common; Local historian Keith Bacon will take us back in time and explore the history of Catfield Common in the Broads; Professor Tom Williamson (UEA) will reveal on the history and archaeology of Norfolk's common land.
On Sunday 14 July NWT is delighted to support the official opening of Surrell’s Wood: a five acre woodland purchased by the Felbeck Trust last year. There will be walks, displays, entertainment and refreshments.
To coincide with Commons Week NWT is running its second Wildlife in Common photo competition
. It's open to all, to submit wildlife or landscape pictures taken on Norfolk's wonderful commons. Prizes have been provided by Investors in Wildlife Jessops and Cley Spy, and include binoculars, canvases and prints and the latest digiscoping equipment.
Commons in Norfolk were once commonplace: every parish had one and these were often very extensive. It is thought that more than 25% of Norfolk may at one time have been common land. Despite these losses, many fragments of commons have survived to the present day. Some are well known as nature reserves but most are comparatively small and often little known by nearby communities.
Head of People and Wildlife at NWT, David North said: “Each common has its own fascinating story to be discovered. Stories about local history, about how the landscape in Norfolk has, and is, changing, and about the wildlife that makes common land its home. As part of Norfolk Commons Week, Norfolk Wildlife Trust is inviting people to join us on an event, or to visit a local common, take a photo and submit records of wildlife found on commons. We want you to help document some of the many species which have declined elsewhere but still find a habitat and home on our common land.”
This is NWT’s second annual Commons Week, following a hugely successful launch event last year. It is part of a two year Wildlife in Common project, run by Norfolk Wildlife Trust in partnership with Norfolk County Council and University of East Anglia. It empowers local people to connect with their common land, survey commons for wildlife and ultimately may lead to the creation of new commons in Norfolk.
Commons Week is part of a wider, ‘Wildlife in Common’ project supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund, Essex & Suffolk Water Branch Out, The John Spedan Lewis Foundation, The Wildflower Society and other funders.