Breckland: the New Forest of the East

The wonderful pingo ponds of Breckland rival the best that the New Forest can offer. These are places where you can see what ponds should really be like when protected from pollution.

Breckland is little known outside East Anglia – or if it is known, it’s for the miles and miles of conifers that comprise Thetford Forest – one of the 20th century’s bigger acts of environmental vandalism.

But it deserves to be better known – and I hope East Anglian readers won’t feel that short-changed by the thought that always crosses my mind – that Breckland deserves to be spoken of in the same hushed tones as the New Forest – and were it not for all those trees, it probably would be.

And the recently published Breckland Biodiversity Audit – which made the news last week here – helps make this a little clearer.

The report is really for the specialist – and even specialists will need to delve and reinterpret it a bit as, although it’s a fascinating read, it is a bit idiosyncratic. A report on biodiversity which doesn’t mention Priority Ponds or water pollution naturally seems a bit odd to my eyes. But it does have a lot of interesting things to say about habitats which are indeed Priority Ponds and are definitely vulnerable to pollution.

So this is an important piece of work which gets a lot of valuable information into one place.

It should help Breckland achieve the prominence it really deserves as a little known jewel in the national crown. And perhaps eventually it’ll help us get most of those trees cut down!

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