The project, funded by Biffa Award, was the first stage in transforming a former pig farm at Thompson Common back to the historic Breckland grass heath which was present on the 18th century heath. Deep ploughing brought the nutrient poor substrate to the surface to allow the natural regeneration to a grass heath habitat. Scrub clearance helped to improve the connectivity of open habitats, restoring over 20 ‘ghost pingos’ – natural ponds formed over 12,000 years ago by ground-ice thawing and leaving behind shallow depressions which filled with water. The provision of additional grazing infrastructure allowed the regenerating habitat to be opened up to a herd of long-horned cattle to sustain its future management.
The Brecks has areas of incredibly good wildlife habitat but others of really intensive farming. It is wonderful to take something which has been effectively destroyed by intensive agriculture over the years and, we hope, bring it back to being part of the unique Brecks habitat. These habitats don’t exist anywhere else in the world and we are really privileged to have so many good bits left that the trust looks after. - Reserves Manager Jon Preston
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