Breckland is the rural area of south west Norfolk which covers the countryside around the market towns of Attleborough, Dereham, Swaffham, Thetford and Watton. It has been known for centuries as 'heath and rye' country, a traditional form of land use developed whereby the heathlands or 'brecks' were used for arable cultivation in times of prosperity and then allowed to revert back to heath when the sandy soils nutrients were exhausted. This shifting cultivation eventually gave its name to the region known today as Breckland.
The area has a rich heritage dating back to the Stone Age with flint working through to the middle ages when sheep farming brought prosperity. The main trading routes being the Peddars Way and Icknield Way, both long distance footpaths. The distinctive landscape was dramatically changed during the 1920’s by the creation of Thetford Forest. The planting of conifer plantations eventually resulted in creating the largest lowland forest in the UK for commercial timber production.
NWT has woodland and heathland reserves at East Wretham Heath, Hockham Fen, Hoe Rough, Grimes Graves, New Buckenham Common, Thetford Heath, Scarning Fen, Wayland Wood and Weeting Heath. This diverse range of habitats, together with the rivers Little Ouse, Thet, Wissey and Lark, is of particular interest to geologists, naturalists, archaeologists as well as being a valuable recreation area for walking , cycling, and horse riding.
Wether you are a resident or visitor you will soon come to appreciate this special area of the county.