Litcham Common

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MANAGEMENT

The Common is actively managed for wildlife, with a particular emphasis on maintaining and restoring
the areas of open heathland, a rare and important habitat once widespread in Norfolk.

NEW Latest Management Statement


In the early eighties the late William

Foster of Lexham Hall became so concerned about the state of the common that he contacted Norfolk County Council for help. This led to Litcham Common being declared a Local Nature Reserve in 1984 in recognition of its important wildlife and landscape value.


A committee, made up of local residents and representatives from Lexham Hall Estate, Litcham Parish Council and Norfolk County Council, was set up to oversee the management of the common. Norfolk County Council funded management work on the common for many years, but this stopped in 2011 as a result of budget cutbacks. Fortunately, Natural England has agreed to fund the management work on the common for the ten year period from 1 March 2012, under a Higher Level Stewardship Agreement.

The main management objective is to increase the area of open heathland and reduce the areas of trees and scrub (particularly birch). However, significant areas of woodland and many of the established trees will be kept so that as wide a variety of wildlife habitats as possible is retained. Four Dartmoor ponies have grazed the western half of the common since June 2008. In September 2012 a project to install cattle grids on the Dunham road was completed, and the ponies are now able to graze the entire site. The ponies’ job is to keep the existing open areas clear of scrub, and maintain a diverse range of plants.


In October 2012 a 5 year management plan was completed by the Norfolk Wildlife Trust. This identifies the main areas of trees and scrub to be cleared, as well as other management work to be undertaken. The plan can be viewed here.


(The previous management plan produced by Norfolk County Council in September 2001 can be viewed here.)


The importance of the common to local people is also recognised, with the provision of a car park, benches and the regular maintenance of the footpaths. Visitors to the common can enjoy many wild flowers such as heather, devils bit and harebells. Their continued presence bears testimony to the work carried out since 1984.


The Management Committee is very grateful to all those who help look after Litcham Common, in particular the volunteers who regularly check the ponies, and the members of Litcham Common Conservation Group who turn out once a month to help with tasks such as scrub clearance and picking up litter.

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A W A R D S


CPRE AWARD

On the 11th of November 2010 Litcham Common Management Committee was presented with an award for the Grazing Scheme. The judges made a presentation about the Common in which they paid tribute not only to the importance of the site as a nature reserve, but also to the way in which local people have become involved in a variety of ways. We are the proud owners of a certificate, now on display in the Jubilee Hall, and a brass plaque displayed on the common information board.



Award certificates were also collected by Neil Foster on behalf of Lexham Hall Estate, and Sarah Cureton on behalf of

Norfolk County Council, in recognition of the important roles they have each played in reinstating grazing on the Common.

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NBP AWARD

2016

On 19th July 2016 the Management Committee was presented with a further Community Biodiversity Award at the Norfolk Biodiversity Partnership’s annual awards ceremony, this time in the Commons and Greens category.

The judging panel said that they were highly impressed by:

“...all that has been achieved by the volunteers in recent years to manage Litcham Common sustainably using cattle,

whilst keeping the wider community fully engaged and updated.”



2011

On 12 July 2011 the Management Committee was presented with the Community Biodiversity Site Award at the Norfolk Biodiversity Partnership’s annual awards ceremony. The chief judge made the following comments:

  ‘I think the other judges felt that it was an excellent, well-rounded project with clear biodiversity aims

  (and  achievements) and ample evidence of public participation, both in carrying out the actual work and being able to take advantage of the benefits.  The excellent website was also remarked upon.  From my own point of view, it was the re-introduction of grazing to the common that I was most impressed by...  The fact that your group has succeeded in re-introducing grazing and you now, once again, have a living, working common will be a great encouragement to others.’ 


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The Management Committee are....

Neil Foster - Landowner

Roger Watts - Volunteer 

Norfolk County Council (no named representative at present)

Tim Angell - Conservation Group Representative

Mike Oldfield - Parish Council Representative

John Jones - Honorary Warden

Contact: Tim Angell 01328 700045

Set up to oversee and implement a management plan when Litcham Common was declared a Local Nature Reserve, under the National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act 1949. The committee meets twice a year, and presents a report to the Annual Parish Meeting (see below for links).

The management plan must be reviewed at least every ten years,

The Latest Management Statement  (Autumn 2017)

Management plan Oct 2012 by the NWT.

Support

The Management Committee is grateful for the support and advice received from a number of organisations, including:

The Dartmoor Pony Heritage TrustGrazing Animals Project (GAP) - Larking Gowen (Chartered accountants) - Natural England - Norfolk County Council - Norfolk Biodiversity PartnershipSITA Trust and the Norfolk Wildlife Trust.

Links to more Information.....


PDF of Questions and Answers about installation of Cattle Grids on Litcham Common

...and a Map (to go with above) showing position of Cattle Grid and proposed changes to fencing.


Managements Committee's Annual Reports to Annual Parish Meeting: 2005 - 2006 - 2007 -  20082009  - 2010 - 2011 - 2012

Extensive article about Litcham Common and it’s Management from Conservation Land Management Magazine

Secretary of State: Litcham Common Fencing Scheme Consent (PDF 249k)

Norfolk Wildlife Trust 5 Year management Plan 2012 (PDF856k)

Norfolk County Council Ten Year Plan for Litcham Common, by Raz Woolacott 2001-11 (PDF 80k)

Bye-laws (PDF 42k)

Graceful Grazing, advantages of grazing with Dartmoor Ponies from NWT magazine ‘Tern’ - Spring 2012 (PDF 6.5Mb)



If you would like further information, or have any questions or comments please contact :

Tim Angell (Litcham Common Management Committee): 01328 700045