Friday, 2 December 2016

Ovington Ramblers: Buxton Heath and Holt Lowes NWT Reserves

On 22 November 2016 - we fulfilled our ambition to walk every possible NWT owned or managed public access reserve in their 90th Anniversary year!

Our first stop was at Buxton Heath, six miles north of Norwich just off the B1149.  By the time we arrived the early morning drizzle had ceased and the sun was pushing through the clouds.  We began our walk to the right of the car park through low lying heather and scattered gorse bushes in full flower.  There were lots of different mushrooms to see and the moss in all its emerald glory was a stunning sight.

A 'Cromer Crab-like' giant mushroom

Afterwards we walked straight ahead in a different direction from the car park, a more wooded area full of oak and silver birch.  It was here we had our first site of the wild ponies that graze the area and couldn't resist the photo opportunity. The animals were very obliging and didn't seem to mind our presence at all. Buxton Heath is managed by Norfolk Wildlife Trust in partnership with the owners, Hevingham Fuel Allotment charity.  A wonderful reserve where the silver-studded blue butterfly was reintroduced in 1985 and where you can also find purple hairstreak and white admiral butterflies in summer.
Wild Konik ponies on Buxton Heath

Back at the car we had a quick coffee break and then drove north up the B1149 to Holt Country Park, where there is a large car par and toilet facilities.  You can walk through the lovely wooded area and eventually out on to Holt Lowes. The Lowes is a botanist's delight, with lots of rare plants, which are obviously scarce at this time of year.  However, it is still a picture in November with the last leaves of autumn hanging on the trees. The abundant heather is particularly tall as it vies with the gorse bushes and spruce saplings which are springing up everywhere. The walk on this bright, windy day certainly blew the cobwebs away and we thoroughly enjoyed it. This special reserve is managed by NWT in partnership with the owners, the Holt Lowes Trustees and is a wonderful reserve for dragonflies with over 20 species recorded including the rare keeled skimmer.

A view of Buxton Heath
Sadly, after visiting nearly 40 reserves this year, we have now come to the end of our mission. However, we have enjoyed every minute and will still have very many happy memories to keep. I am sure we will be visiting all our favourite reserves again in the future.  (Photos courtesy of  Maureen Simmons)


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