This large historic common is situated in two different parishes, Broome and Ditchingham. A County Wildlife Site this common is a mosaic of heathland, lakes and woodlands.
Please note this site is not a Norfolk Wildlife Trust reserve.
Habitat description from the Wildlife in Common Survey
A site of former minerals extraction that contains secondary woodland, bare sand and gravel, patches of scrub and heath, plus a series of lakes used largely for fishing. The site has open access and is heavily used for walking; there is also heavy rabbit grazing, resulting in a tight cropped, short sward with much bare ground. The site is notably higher to the north, dropping rapidly to the lakes to the south.
The north-west boundary of the site is dominated by mature scrub, which has developed into secondary woodland at the boundary. The wood is composed of oak Quercus robur
, silver birch Betula pendula
, bracken Pteridium aqiulinium
, gorse Ulex europeaus
and bramble Rubus fruticosus agg.
This wooded belt is quite young, with rare, mature trees such as a few old oaks and large, old coppiced silver birches. Ground flora is limited to ground ivy Glechoma hederacea
, lords and ladies Arum maculatum
, hybrid bluebells Hyacinthoides × massartiana
, wood forget-me-not Myosotis sylvatica
with increasing bramble and bracken in places. Ragwort Senecio jacobaea
is frequent here and across the site.
The central area of the site is largely open; in places there are stands of various ages of heather Calluna vulgaris
and bell heather Erica cinerea
, but in most places the sward is short and heavily rabbit grazed. Bracken is coming to dominate some areas, such as on the tumuli. The tight, short sward of the grassland supports sheep’s sorrel Rumex acetosella
, early hair grass Aira praecox
, little mouse ear Cerastium semidecandrum
, common storksbill Erodium cicutarium
, buckshorn plantain Plantago coronopus
, shepherd’s cress Teesdalia nudicaulis
, suffocated clover Trifolium suffocatum
, common cudweed Filago vulgaris
, cat’s ear Hypochaeris radicata
, common birdsfoot trefoil Lotus corniculatus
, field woodrush Luzula campestris
, spring vetch Vicia lathyroides
, changing forget-me-not Myosotis discolour,
early forget-me-not Myosotis ramosissima
, birdsfoot Ornithopus perpusillus
, slender parsley piert Aphanes australis
, lesser chickweed Stellaria pallida
, heath dog violet Viola canina
and squirrel-tailed fescue Vulpia bromoides
The mesotrophic lakes support limited marginal vegetation, being well-used for fishing. In places the damper soils support yellow iris Iris pseudacorus
, hard rush Juncus inflexus
, gipsywort Lycopus europeaus
, lesser pond sedge Carex acutiformis
, great willowherb Epilobium hirsutum
, soft rush Juncus effusus
, watermint Mentha aquatica
and reedmace Typha latifolius
. Otherwise, the lakes also support little in the way of aquatic vegetation. The banks of the lakes support scrub and trees, especially on some of the steeper slopes; this includes sycamore Acer pseudoplatanus
, silver birch, broom Cytisus scoparius
and goat willow Salix caprea.
A small roadside area of coarse acid grassland in the north east corner of the site supports tansy Tanacetum vulgare
, Lady’s bedstraw Galium verum
, Oregon grape Mahonia aquifolium
, rough chervil Chaerophyllum temulum
, agrimony Agrimonia eupatorium
, creeping cinquefoil Potentilla repens
, knotgrass Polygonum aviculare agg.
, field bindweed Convolvulus arvensis
, barren brome Anisantha sterilis
, perennial ryegrass Lolium perenne
and cocksfoot Dactylis glomerata
. The area is bounded by trees to the south.
Nightingale Luscinia megarhynchos
, slow-worm Anguis fragilis
and green hairstreak Callophrys rubi
were recorded on the site in 2019.
The site includes several tumuli, at least two of which are Scheduled Ancient Monuments and the Broome Heath Pit geological SSSI, in the north-east corner, which contains an exposure of an old river terrace deposited during the Wolstonian glacial stage.