NWT East Wretham Heath was purchased by the Trust at the start of WWII, making it the oldest Breckland nature reserve.
A large part of the reserve was ploughed during the war and subsequently farmed, but careful management and controlled conservation-grazing, in particular by the site’s numerous rabbits, have restored the open heath habitat. Today, the short, close-cropped grassland is home to many rare species of plant and insect, as well as scarce breeding birds including woodlark; stone curlews are also seen occasionally.
Among the site’s other interesting features are its meres. Two of these, Langmere and Ringmere, have fluctuating water levels fed by rising ground water and sometimes dry up altogether. A hide overlooks Langmere, with additional viewing shelters at Fenmere and Ringmere; numerous waterbirds can be found on these, with migrating passage waders and wildfowl in spring and autumn, as well as many interesting aquatic invertebrates.
As well as rabbits, the reserve also supports a number of other mammals including stoats, red, roe and muntjac deer.