Abbs Common is a small area of registered common (CL5), composed largely of neutral grassland, that is part of a larger County Wildlife Site that includes Congham Hill, a dome-shaped glacial feature dominated by bracken. Floristically rich the site includes such species as common spotted orchid, bird’s-foot trefoil and English bluebell.
Please note this site is not a Norfolk Wildlife Trust reserve.
West side of central track
Habitat description from the Wildlife in Common survey
: mainly comprises tall, rough, damp, mesotrophic grassland studded with scattered trees and shrubs. Some are probably self-sown English oak (Quercus robur), silver birch (Betula pendula), hawthorn (Crataegus monogyna), others are or may be planted - sweet chestnut (Castanea sativa), osier (Salix viminalis), apple (Malus pumila), but together they give an attractive ‘parkland’ feel to this area, though some are rather barricaded off by bramble (Rubus fruticosus agg.) scrub. The neutral grassland has about 35 common spotted-orchids (Dactylorhiza fuchsii). On the west boundary is an overgrown hedge with large hawthorn, field maple (Acer campestre), holly (Ilex aquifolium), grey willow (Salix cinerea), dogwood (Cornus sanguineus) etc, plus much ivy (Hedera helix), bramble, hops (Humulus lupulus), non-native white-flowered rose (Rosa sp.).
The southern part of this Compartment comprises open woodland, and includes some tall alder (Alnus glutinosa), a thicket of old blackthorn (Prunus spinosa), and a veteran sycamore (Acer pseudoplatanus) with wood sorrel below (Oxalis acetosella).
East side of central track:
this area is of mixed broadleaf woodland with a dry ditch running through it. It has dense blackthorn scrub to the north, with trees including a pine, and a fine stand of variously-sized aspen (Populus tremula). In the middle it is more open and accessible from the track, and includes an open glade with much foxglove (Digitalis purpurea), plus mature, possibly coppiced, multi-stem sycamore and ash (Fraxinus excelsior) along the dry ditch. At the south end it becomes denser again, with strong shade from sycamores, some oak, and grey willow, more dense blackthorn scrub, and patches of dense bracken (Pteridium aquilinum) and nettle (Urtica dioica). Natural regeneration here and in the western woodland includes many sycamore seedlings (though few saplings), hawthorn, rowan (Sorbus aucuparia) and beech (Fagus sylvatica).
The eastern hedge is mainly of very overgrown and gappy hawthorn, much clad with ivy; it is fenced against stock on the pasture side.