This is an area shaped by a complex geology – a rolling chalk escarpment, cut through by river valleys, the lower parts of which were estuarine until as recently as Roman times. Although its light soils make this an important area for agriculture, significant areas of semi-natural habitat remain including sizeable woodlands and relict wetlands associated with the river valleys. Most notable, however, are internationally important areas of heathland and bog, such as those found at Roydon Common. Human influence on the landscape has been, and remains, significant – Kings Lynn is a notable and growing urban centre, while mineral extraction (particularly of high-value silica sand) scars the landscape but also provides interesting restoration opportunities.
- Heather-dominated heathland provides habitat for a range of rare species.
- Although heavily modified, the Gaywood River is an example of a chalk stream (of which 75% of the world's resource is found in England).
- Sympathetic restoration of former sand extraction sites can create havens for biodiversity.
- The growth of sphagnum mosses underpins our valuable bog habitats.
- Complex mosaics provide ideal habitat for reptiles such as the adder.
- The mysterious nightjar breeds in significant numbers in the Gaywood Living Landscape.
Norfolk Wildlife Trust is adopting an ambitious approach to nature conservation: working in partnership with others and engaging local communities to restore and create networks of habitats at a landscape scale. The vision is to forge wildlife-rich Living Landscapes enjoyed by and benefitting all. In the Bure & Thurne Living Landscape, NWT proposes to:
- Continue managing the Trust’s Roydon Common / Grimston Warren reserve to sustain its internationally important biodiversity.
- Ensure positive conservation management of all remaining heathland and wetland habitats within the Living Landscape (particularly designated sites such as Leziate, Sugar & Derby Fen SSSI), expanding these sites where conditions allow.
- Restore the Gaywood River and associated floodplain as an important chalk river and to increase its ability to mitigate the flood risk associated with King’s Lynn.
- Encourage farmers to adopt management practices that will promote the survival of farmland wildlife, particularly rare arable plants.
- Promote the appropriate management of woodlands, hedgerows, trees, ponds and ditches to deliver an ecologically connected landscape.
- Support partners in work to minimise the impact of agriculture on sensitive sites and the wider environment arising through diffuse pollution and soil erosion.
- In light of significant housing development around King’s Lynn, work with the local authority, developers and others to ensure the incorporation of good quality green infrastructure and open spaces, and the adoption of measures to mitigate the impact of recreational pressure on sites such as Roydon Common and Dersingham Bog.
- Work with the sand and gravel industry, promoting post-extraction restoration to biodiversity-rich environments.
Build on existing links with local schools, increasing understanding and appreciation of the natural environment and how it benefits society through a targeted education programme.
- Build on the work of the Gaywood Conservation Group, promoting opportunities for local people to become actively involved in the management of sites in both urban and rural settings.
- Increase resources available for nature conservation by building partnerships with the significant business / industrial sector associated with King’s Lynn