The acidic heathland here is punctuated with alkaline pools lying in the bottom of the valley, making for a rich diversity of flora and fauna.
What to look for: Spring/summer – great crested newt, smooth newt, natterjack toad, common lizard and adder. Nightjar and woodlark. Ling, wavy hair-grass, dodder, common lousewort and trailing St John’s wort. Small copper and greenstreak butterflies, small red-eyed damselfly, ruddy darter and migrant hawker. Autumn/winter – broom, gorse and western gorse. All year – willow tit and linnet.
Facilities: Information board.
Directions: 2km south of Syderstone village in West Norfolk. From Fakenham take the A148 road to King’s Lynn and turn towards Docking on the B1454. After 2km turn right to Syderstone village and at a fork 400m further on, bear left up Mill Lane. The car park is 300m on the left.
Access: Entrance is from the car park.
Did you know? – NWT Syderstone Common is one of only two inland sites in the UK where the rare natterjack toad is still found. As they need both chalky water and sandy soil in which to thrive, natterjacks are more usually found on coastal dunes. The males emerge from burrows at dusk and call in a chorus to attract females. Natterjacks can be identified by the yellow stripe running the length of its back. Please note – that it is illegal to handle, disturb or photograph natterjack toads and great crested newts without a licence. The pools here are temporary and are directly connected to the underlying chalk aquifer. They are perfectly suited to the natterjacks because water starts to appear in late winter, peaking in May when the toads breed, and falling away in autumn.