Breaking New Ground

Reconnecting People with The Brecks

Ground Disturbance

The Brecks is an area of unique climate and soils.  A history of grazing and cultivation created an open landscape attracting rare flora and fauna.  There has, however, been a decline in the creation of this broken/bare ground, which has led to a decrease in the wildlife that depends upon it.

The Breckland Biodiversity Audit (BBA) recorded 12,845 species in The Brecks, identifying 2,149, of national importance, as Brecks priority species. It highlighted the importance of bare ground habitats in supporting those species.

This project will explore a range of different disturbance treatments in order to increase populations of plants, invertebrates and birds through varied habitat management and mosaic creation.

Consultation with the scientific community, conservation and land management professionals and land owners will aim to increase understanding of different ground disturbance treatments.  Volunteering opportunities will provide long term engagement.

This project is being delivered through the partnership of Norfolk Wildlife Trust, RSPB, Forestry Commission, Suffolk County Council, Norfolk County Council and University of East Anglia, and with the support of Natural England.  A more joined up approach will be beneficial, experimenting with different techniques, with increased monitoring, coordinating information and sharing best practice among land owners, managers and the wider community.

Watch this fantastic video showing the scrapes on Brandon Heath from above (thanks to Ember Films!)


Latest News
  • The RSPB has fitted GPS tags to five adult stone-curlew to monitor their ranging behaviour and ascertain whether they select for areas of ground disturbance
  • The vegetation survey was completed by a consultant on the new ground disturbance plots at
    Weeting Heath
    The vegetation survey was completed by a consultant on the new ground disturbance plots at Weeting Heath
  • 60 scrapes have been made at Brandon Heath
  • 11 volunteers from the Friends of Thetford Forest conservation group spent a morning with FC, cutting an area of mature gorse so that it could be cleared.
  • To read Norfolk County Council's Historic Environment Assessment of the Ground Disturbance sites in Norfolk, click here.
  • To read Suffolk County Council's Historic Environment Assessment of four Breckland Roadside Nature Reserves, click here.
  • To read a Vegetation Survey and Assessment of Weeting Heath, click here.


Project Gallery

A selection of images form the project so far.



Quarterly Progress Reports.


Click here for the Brecks National Character Area Profile - NCA 85.  

NCA profiles explain how you can access environmental evidence and information about specific NCAs.




This project is literally breaking new (and old) ground.


End of Stump Row Disturbance
Ploughing Ground Disturbance
Small Scale Disturbance
Stepped Trough Feature