Litcham Common

  Introduction    Management    Conservation Group    The Ponies  Grazing Scheme    Gallery 
 
 


AN  INTRODUCTION TO LITCHAM COMMON

Litcham Common is situated to the south of the village on the "Nar Valley Way" long distance footpath, which runs from Dereham to King's Lynn. The common consists of 60 acres of mixed woodland and heath. In the west the land can become quite boggy along its border with the river Nar.

Norfolk County Council declared Litcham Common a Local Nature Reserve in 1984, with the agreement of Lexham Hall Estate that owns the freehold of the common. Bylaws were established, and a Management Committee was set up to look after the new reserve.

Visitors can stroll through secondary oak and birch woodland and across open grassy heathland dominated by purple moor-grass, with clumps of common heather, bell heather, cross leaved heath and heath bedstraw. The grassland species include harebell, sweet vernal grass and crested dog's tail.

In June 2008 fencing was erected and Dartmoor ponies now graze the Common. Since 2015 they have been joined on a seasonal basis by cattle. Cattle grids were installed in 2012 so that the livestock can freely roam over the whole site.

During
the Summer several species of butterfly can be seen, while bird species include greater and lesser-spotted woodpeckers, barn owls and woodcock. Last year we were lucky enough to have a family of greater spotted woodpeckers nesting in a tree right next to one of the paths (see the Gallery section for photos).

In autumn many interesting types of fungi can be found and ‘Fungus Forays’ organised by the Conservation Group have proved popular.

Adders

Snapped by eagle eyed photographer an Adder takes advantage of the warmer weather.

Adders favour heathlands and open woodland so Litcham Common provides their ideal habitat.  The snakes emerge from hibernation to mate once the temperature rises above 9°C which usually happens sometime in March.

Adders are a protected species and Britain's only poisonous snake but they will not actively seek to bite a person and bites are rare: they usually occur while this very agile snake is being handled.  So leave them alone!

No-one has died from an adder bite in Britain for thirty years!


In the unlikely event you are bitten then do not try to suck the poison out of the wound

keep the affected limb as high as possible and seek immediate medical attention.


Bell Heather


We are very fortunate in Litcham to have the three main types of native heather growing on the common.

Ling - Bell Heather - Cross Leaved Heath

If you would like to have Litcham Bell Heather in your own garden then plants grown from cuttings
taken from the Common are available at £3 each, or two for £5from Tim Angell on 01328 700045.
All proceeds will go toward the Litcham Church Bell Restoration Fund.


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See how the Common has changed over time:-

Aerial photographs of Common from the Norfolk County Council NOAH site

1946

Crown copyright 1946/MOD - Click photo for high definition version


  In 1946 the Common was largely open, with only a few tall trees round the perimeter.

  The River Nar still ran along the northern border.

  There were a number of well defined tracks and paths.

  The circular outline of a Bronze Age burial disc can still be seen (on the 2Mb image).

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1988



  Far more extensive tree cover due to a decline in use of the Common for grazing.

  The River Nar now runs through the centre of the field to the north.

 

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