Local History in Blo Norton

Yesterday we went along to a local history day in the south Norfolk village of Blo Norton to help support The Little Ouse Headwaters Project.

The valley of the Little Ouse was once an important fenland landscape, with peat diggings and large areas of common grazing. The LOHP project has been working to restore parts of the fens and commons and to manage them sustainably to attract important species (like the raft spider – one of the largest in Britain which thrives in this part of south Norfolk).

Faden’s map of 1797, digitally redrawn by Andrew Macnair, shows the long common along the river valley which joined up with the large common in neighbouring Lopham. Blo Norton Fen was enclosed in the 1820s, although some elements of the fenland landscape remained in the form of fuel allotments for the poor.

One of our undergraduate students, Lucy Willgress, did her final year work placement with the Little Ouse Headwaters project this summer. Lucy researched the changing landscape of the Little Ouse valley, and in particular looked at the some of the fuel allotments created after parliamentary enclosure and how they were managed.

Yesterday Lucy gave a short talk on her work to people from Blo Norton and the surrounding area, and we were then on hand in the afternoon to look at original documents and maps bought along by members of the local community.

This was the first local history day event held by the LOHP team, who were really pleased with the response from the local community – there will almost certainly be more history themed events to follow!

If you’d like to find out more about the Little Ouse Headwaters Project, and how you can get involved their website is here – http://www.lohp.org.uk/

You can explore Andrew Macnair’s redrawn map of Faden here – http://www.fadensmapofnorfolk.co.uk/

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Author: UEA Landscape History

Landscape historians based in the School of History at the University of East Anglia.

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