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Breaking News Newsletter for Breaking New Ground Landscape Partnership Scheme

Dec 2016

A newsflash for project partners and participants with news items, project updates, special features and forthcoming events.

Successful Season for Made From the Sands

Military History Report Published

This Small Grants fund project was set up to give people who might not usually be able to the opportunity to get out into the Brecks and learn about the fascinating history of some of its buildings. So far eight tours have taken place in the specially converted vehicle, with 5 participants each time, and there has been some very positive feedback.

The report from the Military History project is now available to download from our website:

A tour for students from Easton and Otley college

Journal of Breckland Studies Update The authors of the inaugural Journal of Breckland Studies have been selected and are now working on producing some fascinating papers for the journal which will be published on March 2017

“I learnt a lot and found it very interesting” “It was a great experience for my family who find it difficult to get out into the countryside together. A great idea to get families involved in local history” “(the guide) was very helpful and knowledgeable”

Project Extension If your organization would like to take advantage of one of these tours there will be a couple more offered in 2017, so do get in touch

Following discussions with the Heritage Lottery Fund, it looks likely that we will be able to extend one or two key projects, and there will now be on-going workshops and activities to get involved in right through Spring and Summer 2017.

Project Focus D1: Archaeological Training - Volunteers Wanted The Norfolk Monuments Management Project and our ground disturbance project are currently looking for volunteers to record archaeological features on Brecks heaths. The Brecks heaths contain a wealth of archaeological features, ranging from prehistoric burial mounds and medieval warren boundaries to post medieval quarries and 20th century military features. In the last ten years conservation projects designed to create areas of physically disturbed ground have introduced a potential new threat to these important heritage assets, and provided a new opportunity for a constructive partnership approach to landscape and heritage management. Full training will be given during a day-long workshop, after which participants will be asked to visit a number of locations to look for and report on surviving earthworks. The information collated will be of great benefit to conservation projects looking to create physically disturbed ground. The workshop will be designed for members of the public, land managers and conservation managers interested in recording archaeological features in the field. For further information and to book a place on this FREE workshop contact David Robertson, Historic Environment Officer (Countryside), Norfolk County Council Historic Environment Service, email, telephone 01362 869291.

B4: NBIS Bug Sorting Marathon NBIS will be running another bug sorting marathon on the weekend of the 14th and 15th of January 2017 at High Lodge, Thetford Forest 10am-4pm. We continue to set ourselves a unique wildlife challenge of grouping batches of invertebrates into different families (e.g. beetles, ants, spiders). The invertebrates were caught in 2016, and are sitting in storage waiting for this weekend. Each participant will take on at least two batches per day, and with the help of our on hand experienced mentors, they will split the specimens into different families. At the end of the weekend the sorted material will be sent to experts for identification, and will contribute to forwarding the findings of an ongoing research project which is looking into the effects of different management techniques on Brecks biodiversity. This event is a fantastic opportunity to get to grips with different invertebrate groups and to contribute to an important piece of scientific research. By the end of the weekend participants will be able to recognise key invertebrate families. We are also hoping to host a few taxonomic experts over the course of the weekend to offer participants a further insight into the key invertebrate families. FREE but booking essential. Book your place here:

Project Focus C4: Wings Over the Brecks Magic of the Brecks Trail Open As part of the Wings over the Brecks Project with the Forestry Commission, the RSPB, Norfolk Wildlife Trust, Friends of Thetford Forest and the BTO, the 1km trail at High Lodge has been transformed into the “Magic of the Brecks� Trail. Follow it to find out all about Brecks birds whilst exploring the forest! There is also a KS 1&2 lesson plan to go along with the new trail, which can be downloaded here:

Events Coming Up: Brecks from Above Taster Session 10th Dec 10-12:30, The Classroom, Santon Downham Archaeological Finds Day 10th Dec 10-3, Brandon Country Park Birds and Wildlife of the Forest 17th Dec 10-13:30 Brandon Country Park Recording Archaeological Earthworks 17th Dec 10-4 The Classroom, Santon Downham Bug Sorting Marathon 14-15th January, High Lodge, Thetford Forest Find out more and book at

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Picture of the Month Autumn Trees at Brandon Country Park

What the Brecks Means to Me... Whenever we saw the landscape begin to change and the angular, windswept silhouettes of the Scots pines appear, we knew we were in for a treat. My little sister and I spent many days out and holidays visiting the Brecks as children but the drive from the city always became more exciting the closer we got to our destination, with our noses pressed on the steamy glass in anticipation.

Vipers Bugloss © Plantlife

Staying in Thetford forest in a caravan, aged eight and five, was particularly memorable. On arrival we were released from the car like coiled springs but within moments my sister’s excitement turned to anguish as she fell into a bank of nettles. She definitely gained a different kind of perspective on respecting the environment around her that day! On a more positive note, I was always keenest to find whatever wildlife I could on our outings, so discovering rabbit nuggets in the sandy soil, as well as unconvincing holes I was determined were their burrows, would provide me with plenty of entertainment. Keeping our eyes peeled for wandering sheep, we picnicked on top of springy purple heather on warm early autumn days. My sis, keener on flora than fauna, would lead me up and down twisty tracks, risking stand-offs with muntjac round every corner, so we could inhale the coconut scent of the gorse or lie on our tummies to admire the tiny flowers of the stonecrop or speedwell in spring. She would laugh with mum about deliberately and repeatedly mispronouncing viper’s bugloss (well, it does have bug in the title!). It’s very easy to reminisce about happy outdoor times but they really can shape the direction your life takes in later years. My sister has since completed a degree in agriculture and the environment and has worked for a well-known seed company as well as becoming a florist. She now encourages her children to spend as much time as possible outside (daring to compromise their ‘screen time’) and regularly returns with them to the Brecks, perhaps recreating some of our own early experiences. And I have recently completed an education internship with the Suffolk Wildlife Trust, which included a project with BNG to develop resources to support children’s visits to Lackford Lakes nature reserve and enhance their appreciation and understanding of Breckland habitats. Also, in 2016, at last I have fulfilled a Brecks bird bucket list sighting – a stone curlew nesting in a stony outcrop of heathland. So it really does go to show that the Brecks have something to offer everyone, whatever age you are, and memories of the sights, smells and stings can last a lifetime! Kathryn Faulkner, BNG Work Placement with Suffolk Wildlife Trust

Wishing you all a very Happy Christmas and all the best for 2017! from the BNG team

Get your project noticed!: If there is something that you would like included in the next newsletter, please send details to Amy : Breaking New Ground c/o Visitor Centre, Brandon Country Park, Bury Road, Brandon, Suffolk, IP27 0SU 01842 815465 e: t: @TheBrecksBNG f: TheBrecksBNG. w:

BNG December Newsletter 2016