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. 
Today we protect several of the region’s most celebrated wildlife sites, including Thompson Common, one of NWT’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.

We have a remarkable opportunity to expand Thompson Common by reconnecting it to adjoining arable and woodland, which we will then restore. A series of arable fields and seminatural woodland – Mere Farm, 42 hectares (104 acres) and Stow Bedon, 11.5 hectares (28.5 acres) – is available to NWT to purchase. We must raise £625,625 in 12 months to secure this land in its entirety.

We have been left an exceptional legacy gift, which means that we now just need a further £200,000 to be able to buy this land. 

With your support we could bring the land – including 20.3 hectares of SSSI woodland – into our ownership, protection, and consistent conservation management.
Wheatear, by Elizabeth Dack
Pool frog, Jim Foster

If we buy this land we will be able to:

  • Restore intensive arable farmland, re-establishing species-rich grasslands specific to the Brecks. 
  • Recreate lost pingos, known as ‘ghost ponds’, rebuilding a rare wetland landscape.
  • Continue and enhance the protection of Stow Bedon’s woodland pingos, a stronghold for threatened species such as the pond mud snail and the only known East Anglian site for this rare freshwater mollusc.
  • Reinstate a missing link in a network of uninterrupted wildlife-rich habitats from heaths to wetlands and through to Thetford Forest.
  •  Connect SSSI woodland across all sites.

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With much of the surrounding land currently in intensive arable farming, this is a rare opportunity to reinstate the thriving Breckland grass heath known to be present in the 18th century. Taking this land back to its past will increase its resilience in the future.

- John Milton, NWT Head of Ecosystem Restoration