The Brecks is a special place of changing landscapes and unique character. The variety of habitats provides a home to so many species, some of which occur in The Brecks and no-where else! Our projects worked to improve areas for the benefit of wildlife so our special species can continue to thrive
Click on the project titles below to find out more.
The man-made landscape of the Brecks has led to the need for a unique form of land management to be implemented which allows specialist species to flourish. The intensive grazing and burrowing by rabbits for centuries has meant that many plant species need bare ground to colonise and thrive. The practice of warrening has disappeared and much of the heath has been converted to agricultural land, with remaining heath not sustaining a large enough population of rabbits to create enough bare ground. Read more »
This project brought together Norfolk and Suffolk Wildlife Trusts who both work in the Brecks and the BNG project area. The aim of the project was to ensure the conservation of the County Wildlife Sites (CWS) in the BNG project area. Starting in 2014, 45 CWS sites were surveyed for condition assessment, 15 more than was originally intended due to good planning and opportunistic assessment of neighbouring sites. Volunteers helped with these surveys, specifically monitoring invertebrate biodiversity. Six surveys were undertaken on potential new CWS which led to four new sites receiving CWS designation – Thetford Castle Mounds, Cloverfields and Abbey Meadows in Norfolk and RAF Barnham, Gorse Industrial Estate in Suffolk. Two further sites will be designated CWS on Thetford Town Council land in 2017 as a direct result of the work carried out to date by Norfolk Wildlife Trust. Read more »
Thompson Common in Norfolk was the last refuge of the Pool Frog, one of the two native frog species to the UK, which went extinct in this country in the 1990s. Following the Norfolk Pingo Mapping Project in 2008 and an initial release of Pool Frogs, this project created more suitable habitat and released huge numbers of young frogs with the aim of re-creating a self sustaining population. Read more »
The Wings Over the Brecks project connected local communities, school groups and visitors to the Brecks to some of the distinct and special bird species and their habitats. The primary way that this was achieved was by installing nest cameras in the forest and out on the heath to capture never seen before footage of these rare species, allowing a sneaky peek into their lives. Goshawk, Hobby, Stone Curlew, Nightjar and Lapwing were all caught on camera with the first four installed on nests. Several kms of cable were laid over the forest and heath to make this possible, and specialist contractors were engaged to fix cameras high in the trees for the hobby and goshawks. The real heroes though were the hardworking volunteers who spent many hours carefully searching for nest sites in collaboration with the professional project team. A launch event was held on 25th May 2015 to get the project underway, with 1520 people attending,, smashing the target of 500. Read more »
The pine lines are the most familiar and iconic feature of the Brecks landscape. Comprising of long straight lines of contorted Scots and Corsican pines, they march across the landscape, silhouetted against the sky. Research by Prof Tom Williamson of UEA during the course of the project discovered that they were originally planted as hedges. The young, clipped pines provided a good windbreak for the crops in adjacent fields and survived well in the poor Brecks soils. Most of the lines were established between 1815 and 1825 and became difficult to manage. They subsequently grew into twisted mature trees which had been manipulated at a young age, giving this unique Brecks feature. Read more »
The overall aim of this project, delivered by Norfolk Biodiversity Information Service, was to increase the number of trained volunteers participating in wildlife recording in the Brecks. The project exceeded all of it’s original targets by an astounding amount, in no small part due to the 785 people who gave up their time. It was originally hoped that the project would engage around 60 volunteers but a total of 785 people gave 7,210 hours of their time to learn about, improve identification skills, and record biodiversity in the Brecks. Read more »