Beetley Common by Lucy Seely 1/9
Beetley Common by Lucy Seely 2/9
Beetley Common by Lucy Seely 3/9
Beetley Common by Lucy Seely 4/9
Entry to Beetley Common by Bob Hunter 5/9
In the wood by Bob Hunter 6/9
Down by the river by Bob Hunter 7/9
Recently cleared area by Bob Hunter 8/9
In the wood by Bob Hunter 9/9

Beetley Common

Beetley Common is a County Wildlife Site (CWS 1036), with the main habitat being secondary woodland, which in parts is wet. Past records show that this site had good adder populations, along with common toads and frogs.  

Please note this site is not a Norfolk Wildlife Trust reserve.

Habitat description from the Wildlife in Common Survey

A semi-natural mature woodland dominated in drier areas by oak Quercus robur and by alder Alnus glutinosa in wetter areas. At the entrance to the site is a water pumping station, otherwise it has open public access with a number of paths crossing the site. It was used in the past for cattle grazing and wood cutting but is now occasionally managed by a small group of local volunteers. Historic records from the 1990s (held by the Norfolk Biodiversity Information Service) show that on one occasion a recorder counted 60 individual adders, plus a slow worm. During the Wildlife in Common survey, 2018 and 2019, only one adder was seen and that unfortunately was dead. Live slow worms were, however, recorded.

The centre of the site consists of dense and scattered scrub with blackthorn Prunus spinosa, hawthorn Crataegus monogyna and elder Sambucus nigra, bramble Rubus fruticosus agg. and crab apple Malus sylvestris with some young oak and sycamore Acer pseudoplatanus and silver birch Betula pendula. Open areas are dominated by tall dense bracken Pteridium aquilinum with occasional patches of purple moor-grass Molinia caerulea, heath bedstraw Galium saxatile and wood sage Teucrium scorodonia. Patches of oak and silver birch Betula pendula secondary woodland are encroaching into the remaining open areas. Other scrub species present include rare gorse Ulex europaeus and broom Cytisus scoparius.

Along this western margin taller dense blackthorn scrub occurs, but also areas dominated by oak with a more diverse ground flora including dog’s mercury Mercurialis perennis, herb-Robert Geranium robertianum, wood avens Geum urbanum and red campion Silene dioica with ground-ivy Glechoma hederacea.  

Along the northern edge is a band of alder, oak and silver birch, moving east old coppiced alder occurs. Conditions are damper here and a diverse ground flora includes broad buckler-fern Dryopteris dilatata, wood anemone Anemone nemorosa, wood meadow-grass Poa nemoralis and giant fescue Festuca gigantea.  The north-east has dense alder and ash, some of the alder is coppiced; crack willow Salix fragilis and grey willow Salix cinerea occur on the eastern edge. The shrub layer includes hawthorn, holly Ilex aquifolium, rowan Sorbus aucuparia and young oak. The ground flora includes areas of tall nettle Urtica dioica with hemp-agrimony Eupatoria cannabinum and occasional patches of remote sedge Carex remota, with hedge woundwort Stachys sylvatica and redshank Polygonum persicaria.  Along eastern side the site is drier oak-birch woodland with mature past coppiced hazel, regenerating oak and patches of gorse and occasional crab apple. The less diverse ground flora includes broad buckler-fern and areas of bramble and bracken with some honeysuckle Lonicera periclymenum.  

There is a small patch of remnant heath to the east of the pumping station, supporting small amounts of bell heather Erica cinerea, ling Calluna vulgaris, early hair grass Aira praecox and sheep’s sorrel Rumex acetosella.  

The south-eastern part of site is secondary oak-birch woodland with more mature oak on the eastern and southern boundaries with some alder. The ground flora and shrub layer is much as the eastern boundary with frequent holly.  

Other species occurring locally include common spotted orchid Dactylorhiza fuchsii, remote sedge Carex remota, pill sedge Carex pilulifera and heather Calluna vulgaris.   

Download the survey results


Common Lane
Post code
NR20 4DQ
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