AN INTRODUCTION TO LITCHAM COMMON
Litcham Common is situated to the south of the village on the “Nar Valley Way” long distance footpath, which runs from Dereham to King’s Lynn. The common consists of 60 acres of mixed woodland and heath. In the west the land can become quite boggy along its border with the river Nar.
Norfolk County Council declared Litcham Common a Local Nature Reserve in 1984, with the agreement of Lexham Hall Estate that owns the freehold of the common. Bylaws were established, and a Management Committee was set up to look after the new reserve.
Visitors can stroll through secondary oak and birch woodland and across open grassy heathland dominated by purple moor-grass, with clumps of common heather, bell heather, cross leaved heath and heath bedstraw. The grassland species include harebell, sweet vernal grass and crested dog’s tail.
In June 2008 fencing was erected and Dartmoor ponies now graze the Common. Since 2015 they have been joined on a seasonal basis by cattle. Cattle grids were installed in 2012 so that the livestock can freely roam over the whole site.
The Nar Valley Way runs across the Common a map can be found here
Snapped by eagle eyed photographer an Adder takes advantage of the warmer weather.
Adders favour heathlands and open woodland so Litcham Common provides their ideal habitat. The snakes emerge from hibernation to mate once the temperature rises above 9°C which usually happens sometime in March.
Adders are a protected species and Britain’s only poisonous snake but they will not actively seek to bite a person and bites are rare: they usually occur while this very agile snake is being handled. So leave them alone!
No-one has died from an adder bite in Britain for thirty years!
In the unlikely event you are bitten then do not try to suck the poison out of the wound keep the affected limb as high as possible and seek immediate medical attention
We are very fortunate in Litcham to have the three main types of native heather growing on the common.
Ling – Bell Heather – Cross Leaved Heath
If you would like to have Litcham Bell Heather in your own garden then plants grown from cuttings
taken from the Common are available at £3 each, or two for £5from Tim Angell on 01328 700045.
All proceeds will go toward the Litcham Church Bell Restoration Fund.