The Site of Special Scientific Interest(click to site plan)
This is just one area of the Commons. It is the land through which the main boardwalk runs, and is crossed by Fox’s Beck. This 5.3 hectare area was designated a SSSI on the 25th July 1990 because it supports a variety of damp grassland and calcareous valley fen types now rare in East Anglia. A wide range of vegetation types and wildlife habitats have developed which if left unmanaged would be severely compromised.
Some of the key indicators of the diversity found here include the presence of Grass of Parnassus, Southern Marsh Orchid and Marsh Helleborine. A number of rare and notable Diptera (true flies) have been recorded from the site, and the conditions are favourable for nesting sites of Reed Bunting and Sedge Warbler. The management plan for the SSSI is specified and overseen by Natural England and the cutting and disposal carried out by our volunteers is done in a manner that will best preserve the plants and wildlife habitats listed in the designation.
The top photograph shows what the common was like about 100 years ago. Today trees border the beck obscuring the view of the houses and if the area was left untended it would become woodland.
On the north side of Fox’s Beck in particular villagers used the Common to collect firewood, for grazing and shooting and for raw materials, for drying their washing and for recreation. Animals have been grazed as recently as the 1980’s; Trigger the horse being particularly fondly remembered.
Click here for the SSSI designation. (PDF opens in new window).