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SWT Knettishall Heath

Park with 375 acres of Breckland heath and mixed woodlands, with access to the River Ouse along walks.

Opening Times

Of the more than 12,500 species living in the Brecks, 30% are nationally rare. Despite its name, Knettishall Heath is in fact a diverse mosaic of habitats with woodland and riverside meadows, as well as large areas of heath. It extends to over 430 acres.

The open landscape created by our Bronze Age ancestors 4,000 years ago had changed very little until the 20th century when forestry and modern farming transformed large parts of The Brecks. Knettishall Heath still retains a sense of what this ancient landscape must have looked like in the past. The 18th century rabbit warren and the Bronze Age burial mound at Hut Hill are evidence of thousands of years of human occupation, but at the western end of the heath, the ‘patterned ground’ is the product of a much earlier time. At the end of the last ice age, repeated freezing and thawing of the ground created a unique mixing of the sandy soil and the underlying chalk. The unusual vegetation stripes seen here reflect the two soil types and the different plants that grow in each.

Today, many rare species are still found at Knettishall Heath. Some such as the grey carpet moth are only found in Breckland, while for others such as maiden pink or flixweed, the Brecks is a national stronghold. Knettishall Heath benefited from a gift in the will of William & Mary McAtamney along with with support from The Heritage Lottery Fund.

175 hectares

Grazing animals
Ponies and cattle graze areas of the reserve, please keep dogs under close control in these areas and do not approach the livestock.
Walking trails
There are four trails around the reserve between 1 and 2.5 miles in length including an all access trail around the river. Paths are generally good but can occasionally be muddy in winter. Permissive route for horse riders.

Knettishall Heath is a dog friendly nature reserve to visit – find out about maps and trails where dogs can be off lead, and about our community group Hounds of the Heath!

Parts of this reserve are accessible by wheelchair and mobility scooter.

No drone flying without express permission.
(Permission will only be granted in exceptional circumstances)

Dogs permitted
Please keep dogs on a lead on the open heath during the bird nesting season (March 1st-July 31st) and under close control at all other times.



Opening Times

Reserve open 7 days a week.

Toilets open from April to October.

Barista coffee on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays throughout the year.

Ice cream van most days during school holidays and spring/summer weekends.

Best time to visit – April to October