Breaking New Ground

Reconnecting People with The Brecks

Brecks Building Skills

Brecks Building Skills

A Future for All

We gave people the chance to learn new skills and find out more about The Brecks! The Brecks’ heritage and landscape is a fantastic resource.  Our projects aimed to bring a wealth of knowledge, understanding and experience direct to everyone who lived there, so they can learn new skills and re-discover old hobbies.


Click on the project titles below to find out more.

  1. Working Progress © IBA

    Creatively Interpreting the Brecks

    Each year of Breaking New Ground, 4 workshops were held by the Iceni Botanical Artists to teach participants botanical and landscape painting skills. The project enabled people to look and interpret the landscape in a new way and enabling accessibility to a new past time for many, for which courses are sometimes prohibitively expensive to attend. Read more »

  2. © NCC

    Discovering the Archaeological Landscape of the Brecks Training Programme

    Delivered in partnership between Suffolk and Norfolk County Councils, the project aimed to increase community engagement in the BNG scheme area by training volunteers in archaeological techniques and running open events which encouraged people from all backgrounds to get involved. The first and most important element of the project was the training workshops, providing local people with the skills required to undertake further volunteering and research projects. Read more »

  3. The Big Brecks Fest

    *2016's Brecks Fest took place at West Stow Country Park on the 27th and 28th of March 2016, and West Stow plan to make this a yearly event beyond the lifetime of BNG.* Read more »

  4. Caring for the Built Heritage of the Brecks Day Schools

    From 2014 to 2016, Orchard Barn Environmental Education delivered 12 heritage building skills workshops to 456 participants,, exceeding the target of 360. The workshops were held at West Stow Country Park as it provided all of the facilities required and the project was able to leave behind a legacy of traditionally built structures for use by the public and the park itself. This project succeeded in providing individuals and communities with the confidence, knowledge and motivation to use their new skills to repair existing built heritage, as well as how to responsibly source natural and authentic building materials for use in these types of projects. Read more »

  5. Ice Age Brecks Day School

    Communicating the Ice Age Brecks Day Schools

    The geodiversity of the Brecks underpins much of the area’s rich heritage of landscape, biodiversity and cultural features. This project, one of four run by Tim Holt-Wilson of Norfolk Geodiversity Partnership ran a sequence of three day schools to communicate the Ice Age heritage of the Brecks. There are many landforms, paleolithic archaeological features and fossil biodiversity to be discovered by the untrained eye. Aiming to bring these schools to an audience of 90 participants from the local area, as well as visitors, these event proved very popular, with 92 attending in total. Read more »

  6. Upon this Rock Church Stones Day School

    Before Breaking New Ground, there was very little information about the contribution geodiversity makes to the heritage of the Brecks. Norfolk Geodiversity Partnership have delivered four projects to boost awareness of this issue, with this project introducing people to the wealth of geological features to be found in the Brecks’ churches and churchyards. Read more »

  7. The Brexperts. Alex Brenner

    Beastly Brecks

    This project delivered ‘Bex and Rex in the Beastly Brecks’, a 40-minute interactive educational theatre piece, written and performed by Tangram Theatre company. The play was designed to be accessible and humorous, with key stories about the Brecks’ heritage, species and landscape. Designed to reflect and support science and history aspects of the National Curriculum, the primary target was Key Stage 2 pupils. During the summer term of 2016, 14 schools enjoyed performances which were attended by 1,398 pupils, far exceeding the anticipated target of 1,000. There were also public performances at the Brecks Fest at West Stow Country Park on Easter weekend, Forest Fest at Brandon Country Park on 3rd June and at the Latitude Festival on 8-10th July. These reached 1,166 people, almost double the intended target of 600. Read more »

  8. Geological Landscapes - The Brecks for Land Managers Workshop

    The geodiversity of the Brecks is easily overlooked. The area has subtle contours, its slow rivers occupy shallow valleys, its rocks and soils are variations of chalk and sand. Attention is often diverted away from the wide array of geological features by the extraordinary wildlife and cultural history of the area. Underpinning the character of any landscape though is it’s distinctive but usually poorly understood Earth heritage. The guardians of this heritage and their advisors are the people whose daily business shapes the Brecks landscape. Read more »

  9. Pepper Clump Barrows © NCC

    The Brecks from Above

    Brecks from Above was devised to provide baseline archaeological data for a proportion of the LPS and promote a greater understanding of and engagement with aerial photography. The Brecks is known to have high potential for recording earthwork sites, in a region of the country where such remains are rare. In addition, the forestry plantations and heathland vegetation which dominate the Breckland landscape, while preserving such remains, often also hide them, making them difficult to identify, or to record or locate accurately. Furthermore, ground disturbance caused by forestry operations and heathland restoration can threaten heritage features, especially when such features are undiscovered, or poorly located. Finally, the project sought to exploit the potential of locally accessible aerial photographic sources to record the historic environment, and to take advantage of the results of the BNG project C6: Revealing the Landscape (Lidar). Read more »

  10. LiDAR image of Brandon Country Park

    Revealing the Landscape (LiDAR)

    In recent years, Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) has become an essential tool for assessing heritage at a landscape scale. The data created provides a point cloud view of the landscape and allows for the forest canopy to be digitally removed, revealing previously unrecorded features. Thetford Forest was considered to have had a relatively benign effect of the features imposed of the landscape by previous land uses, and this was indeed the case as the raw data was refined. In partnership with Norfolk Historic environment Service and the Brecks from Above project, the data was corroborated with aerial photographs to add 187 new records to the Norfolk and Suffolk Historic Environment Records. Read more »

  11. © Bishop's Park School

    Breaking New Ground in the School Grounds

    This project, delivered by the Green Light Trust, aimed to increase opportunities for outdoor learning by bringing some of Brecks’ habitats into the grounds of schools within the project area. 5 tree nurseries, 5 areas of Brecks heath acid grassland, 5 butterfly & bee gardens and 2 ‘pingo-style’ ponds were be set up within school grounds to provide natural resources, encouraging wildlife for pupils to learn from. Pupils went outside the school grounds and collected seeds from local woodlands, learning where they come from and how the different trees across the Brecks have come to be. Emphasis was put on the propagation of Scots Pine trees so that links could be drawn to pine lines, in advance of the pine lines being planted in the school grounds. Read more »

  12. © NWT

    Brecks Uncovered

    Norfolk and Suffolk Wildlife Trusts worked together to run this project for primary schools in the Brecks. Every child in each of the 10 primary schools in the project was involved, learning about the natural environment, biodiversity and heritage, starting with assemblies which reached over 2000 pupils. Each school made a field trip to either Grimes Graves, Knettishall Heath or Lackford Lakes. Read more »

  13. Barnham Cross Common

    Barnham Cross Common - Skills for the Future

    The aim of this project was to work with individuals, schools and groups within the vicinity of Barnham Cross Common in Thetford to engage them with the onsite conservation management work being conducted by Plantlife. Suffolk Wildlife Trust delivered the project to provide local people with a range of knowledge and skills in conservation identification and management. Read more »

  14. Work Placements

    The Heritage Skills Work Placement project co-ordinated the placement of young people and career changers with partner organisations to provide them with hands on experience. They worked with landscape heritage, biodiversity and other local organisations to develop their skills and improve their understanding and knowledge of heritage, conservation and land management in the Brecks. 12 people undertook placements over the three years. Some have led to full time employment and others have gone on to undertake further education or training with the intent to continue working or working towards a career in their chosen field. . Read more »