|Before the Hoe Inclosure Act of 1811, much of the north of the parish was common land, part of a larger common stretching as far west as Gressenhall Museum. The Act of Parliament allotted twelve acres of this land to a charity for the poor, the rest was taken into private ownership.The poor’s allotment allowed gorse to be cut for fuel and bracken gathered for animal bedding. Although as late as the 1940s the area was still open, once traditional uses ceased, the Common rapidly became overgrown. It is possible that it was the drastic reduction in the rabbit population caused by the first outbreak of Mixamytosis in the 1960s which allowed silver birch to grow unhindered, so that the woodland we see now quickly began to develop.
The Common is acidic heathland, a habitat which is increasingly rare in Norfolk. It is a designated County Wildlife Site. Conservation work on the Common aims to manage the woodland and to keep the central area open, clearing the birch scrub and some of the gorse to encourage the growth of heather. Periodic cutting of the heather will keep it strong. Occasional grazing will help make the management self-sustaining.
Hoe Common Conservation’s sponsors and supporters are: