Thank you! We have reached our target

Since its earliest days Norfolk Wildlife Trust has been proactive in protecting the Brecks and its wildlife, acquiring essential wildlife sites whenever they came up for sale and working in partnership.  

Our founder Sydney Long had an abiding love of the Brecks and visited East Wretham Heath on the same weekend each spring to witness the return of the wheatears which then bred there. 
We are delighted to report we have reached our fundraising target to expand one of the Brecks’ most important nature reserves for wildlife: securing for conservation three areas of land at NWT Thompson Common.

We needed to raise £625,625 to secure the land. An incredible legacy gave us a significant head start and remarkable generosity of members and supporters from all over the UK means we have reached our target and completed on one of the land purchases. The second is underway.

The two areas of land comprise arable land at Mere Farm and woodland habitats at Stow Bedon. Following restoration they will expand and protect the habitats at Thompson Common. In the interim, again with legacy and donor support, we have acquired a third area adjacent to Thompson Common: Crow’s Meadow.

NWT’s National Nature Reserve, Thompson Common is one of Norfolk’s biodiversity hotspots. Its mosaic of habitats – wet and dry grasslands, hedges, woodland and more than 400 Ice Age pools known as pingos – are precious and support much rare and threatened wildlife including dragonflies, aquatic snails, England’s rarest amphibian the northern pool frog, and many rare water plants.

The new areas of land will now be brought into NWT’s conservation management to restore Brecks heath grassland and prehistoric pingos that have been lost and continue the protection of Stow Bedon, which is already working well for wildlife. This will involve soil sampling and investigating the hydrology and landscape of the site, using LIDAR data (three-dimensional mapping of the landscape achieved through measurements of light reflection over time) to identify subtle differences in the topography where old pingos may have existed. Restoration will require removing the nutrients from the soil, using sheep and cattle grazing and potentially even stripping and removing the top layer of soil.

Interim joint Chief Executive of Norfolk Wildlife Trust, Nik Khandpur said: “In total these three land areas cover 59 hectares (146 acres) and represent a major acquisition for the conservation charity during this, our 95th anniversary year.  Restoring this land back to its past richness will increase its resilience in the future for the many species that rely on its presence. This could not have been achieved without the major public support we received. We are inspired and humbled and wish to thank everyone who has supported us, in many different ways.”
Wheatear, by Elizabeth Dack
Pool frog, Jim Foster

Watch our film on the project

We continue to be incredibly grateful for your support, and you can still make a difference to the wildlife of Thompson Common today. Any further donations can help us to cover the cost of Crow’s Meadow and the future restoration of these magnificent habitats.