About the Common

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 (a former workhouse built in 1776). The Act of Parliament allotted twelve acres of this common land as a charity for the poor, the rest was taken into private ownership. On the poor’s allotment gorse could 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, it 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 birches would in time be replaced by oaks in a natural succession but the heathland habitat would have been lost.

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.

Download a pdf of the leaflet here. hoe_common_leaflet

Hoe Common Conservation’s sponsors and supporters are:
Natural England
Norfolk Wildlife Trust
The Hawk & Owl Trust
Breckland District Council

More information on the Common and the history of Hoe & Worthing villages can be found at  www.hoeandworthingarchive.org.uk

 

 

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