Thursday, 28 July 2011

Is this the end for Fritton Forest?

Fritton forest is under threat and we must do something before it's too late!
At the start of the year trees started to be felled, many were concerned that was the start of the councils proposal for a gravel pit, but were later assured it was due to a legal Forestry Commission granted Licence for 20 acres only and the area was to be replanted in Autumn.

Later this year the Forest suffered a fire, and now, well, I'm not quite sure what's going on but I'm determined to find out before it's too late.

I was at Fritton just a few days ago, and it's a heartbreaking sight! There are now JCB's and steel units in place, and it looks like flood barriers are being put in along the pathway.
More trees have been marked with pink dots, a sign I now know to be they are coming down.
Some of these trees are fairly young and slim, so I cannot imagine it's for a regular "crop harvest"

I would love to hear from anyone that has any information on what is happening, I feel we have a duty to protect the Wildlife there, so much of the British Woodland has been lost already, we need to hang on to every tree we have left!
It's not just a beautiful and peaceful place where families enjoy walks with their dogs, or youngster go camping, trek though on mountain bikes, or just sit and enjoy the spectacular views over the broads, it is a historical ground
Roger Thomas of English-Heritage is looking for info on a series of dugouts he found recently-
"Dear One and All,   Can anyone help me with some dug-outs that I have recently found in Norfolk? There are a number of military fieldworks in the WaveneyForest, situated on rising ground to the East of the River Waveney. During the Great War the area was within the infantry defence scheme for Great Yarmouth and during the Second World War it was used by the Royal Navy during the to unload depth charges from a railway line, which were then stored nearby at Fritton Decoy. Later on circa 1943 – 44 the area was used by the US Army as an infantry training area, with a rifle range situated on the land adjacent to the River Waveney. At that time the area was not heavily forested and was chiefly heath land, the current forestry is approximately forty years old.    The whole area is now covered with Bracken and is forested with two varieties of mature tall slender pine trees. Silver Birch trees seem to be growing on the forest floor as weeds. The Silver Birch however is proving to be a good indicator of archaeological features that consist of a variety of small fire trenches, an infantry redoubt with two integral dugouts (only earthworks remain), an intact dugout, and six accommodation dugouts that have had their roofing material removed. The dugouts all appear to have been made of corrugated sheeting laid on a horizontal timber frame set onto the ground over rectangular earthen pits. The spoil from the pits has been banked up to obscure the dug-outs from view and also provided additional over-head cover. The ground is of a soft glacial sandy soil, and to prevent the side walls from crumbling in and collapsing, the sides of the dug-outs are revetted with sacking held in place by galvanised chicken wire, supported by rough-hewn timber posts and steel angle-iron pickets. The condition of the chicken wire is remarkable, showing very little sign of rust. The redoubt was of the same construction and has a ‘crenellated’ plan fire trench on its western flank covering the river. Nearby are four roughly circular gun earthen emplacements, aligned on St Olaves Bridge (which is covered by a Great War pillbox).    The big puzzle however are eighteen small dugouts (approx 12’ x 6’ x 4’) grouped into two groups of ten and eight. They are simple rectangular-plan 4’ – 5’ deep pits dug into the ground with the same galvanised chicken wire and sacking wall revetments held in place by timber posts and steel picket posts. They are not only smaller and shallower than the other dug-outs, they have 6” flat mass concrete roofs rather than ‘corrugated sheeting’, each with a 6” square vent at one end and a recessed 18” square access hatch at the other. The edges of the roofs lay directly on the ground and clearly are not capable of withstanding a great weight loading. Do you have any idea what they might be; I’ve not come across the like before? (See attached sketch from notebook). A friend of mine was told by someone that they may be pre-prepared SAA stores built in 1940, should the army have to fall back from the coast.
The above was posted by The-historian on the Archeology forum

You can see more on the BBC website here

There is also mention of it on the Councils site
English Heritage previously raised concerns about the impact of the site on a number of listed buildings in St Olaves and along the River Waveney. However, now that the site would be ‘enclosed’ within the forest, it is felt that there would not be any visual harm to the setting of these listed buildings. The Fritton area has been the site of various military activities ranging from the Civil War to World War II, and there are a number of archaeological remains. A gun emplacement at Bell Hill is thought to date from the Civil War, but because it is approximately 250m from the site boundary, it is not believed that its setting would be impacted adversely. A series of World War II defensive structures within the site boundary, including trenches and dugouts, have recently been investigated by English Heritage. Although these structures are not scheduled or listed, they are of value and further investigative work would be necessary (paragraph HE9.6 of PPS5). There should be a presumption in favour of retaining these structures, and so further work would need to be undertaken to provide better information on their value and any conservation strategy

What concerns me more is the fact it seems acceptable for them to even consider destroying protected Oak trees, Adders, Marsh Harriers and so much more.     
It is very clear that people want to protect this beautiful and vital area, you can see for yourself on the Norfolk County Council Website and the Facebook group.

I'm off to google some more, but if you can think of anything that will help protect this beautiful place, please do it! Even sending an email of objection will only take a moment.

Wild Roses in Fritton
Blackberry Blossom in Fritton

Fritton Dragons

Amphibian Paradise
Before the devastation


  1. If there are bats using the woods to roost then they can't cut them down, just a suggestion.

    PS comments only allow me to link to my defunct blogger blog, sorry

  2. Thank you Taexalia, I'll look into it :)