North Norfolk


This case study area comprises extensive lowland commons and coastal grazing marshes of the North Norfolk Coast, accounting for a significant area of Norfolk’s extant common land. The commons lie within the Norfolk Coast AONB and fall within SSSI, Ramsar, Biosphere Reserve, National Nature Reserve, and Special Area of Conservation designations. Intertidal sands and saltmarshes such as those at Thornham, Brancaster and Burnham are complemented by inland pockets of common land, such as Barrow Common, near Brancaster. The coastal landscape presents a very different range of environmental management issues and traditions from those of our upland case study areas, including a changing coast-line, and common rights associated with the products of the foreshore, such as samphire, seaweed and sea lavender. For images of this case study area, go to the Gallery.

Thornham Common
CL number: 41
Hectares (approximate): 224.6

Thornham Low Common (multiple intertidal areas, also listed as Brancaster Bay)
CL number: 56
Hectares (approximate): 97.7

Brancaster & Burnham marsh and harbour (incl Scolt Head Island)
CL number: 65
Hectares (approximate): 1334.3

Brancaster Marshes (intertidal area N of Brancaster & Brancaster Staithe)
CL number: 124
Hectares (approximate): 360.16

Mudflats North of Brancaster (intertidal area N of CL 124)
CL number: 161
Hectares (approximate): 51.9

Barrow Common (inland, S of Brancaster Staithe)
CL number: 159
Hectares (approximate): 35.6

Landscape type: lowland, coastal, some inland
Statutory designations: AONB, SSSI, SAC, Ramsar, Biosphere, National Nature Reserve
Common rights: include pasture, samphire, seaweed, sea lavender, fish and shellfish, bait, wildfowl, game, sand and shingle, estovers etc. (full list to be confirmed)
Stocking traditions: to be confirmed

Briefing Papers

The following briefing paper presents the historical data gathered on common land in this case study area.

NB Our recent stakeholder workshop generated helpful discussions and sharing of information; as a result, our historical briefing paper has been revised and updated.

The following papers comprise reports on qualitative research conducted in the case study area, looking at common land registers, environmental governance, property rights and land management issues. The research process included stakeholder interviews, focus groups and literature reviews:


For images of this case study area, go to Gallery.


See also general Links page.

Please note: the Contested Common Land Project is not responsible for the content of external links.

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