The Brecks 1700-1930: A Landscape Revolution?

A new project for 2016 looking at the landscape of the Brecks in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.

During 2016 landscape historians at UEA are working on a project exploring the changing landscape of the Brecks in the period c.1700-1930. This was a time of dramatic change in parts of the region as heathland commons were replaced by enclosed fields and plantations. The project will seek to chart these changes and explore the stories behind them, drawing together existing research and presenting new findings through a new project website. A number of workshops and day schools are planned for this year which will provide opportunities to find out more about researching the changing post-medieval landscape, with a particular emphasis on contemporary maps and documents.


See below for dates and venues of forthcoming workshops. These are free to attend but places will need to be booked in advance – please click on the links for more details. The content of the four introductory workshops will be the same so it is not necessary to book on more than one.

Introductory Workshops:

Date: Saturday 16th April 2016 – 10.30-13.00

Venue: Santon Downham Village Hall (IP27 0TL)



Date: Saturday 30th April 2016 – 10.30-13.00

Venue: Forestry Commission Classroom, Santon Downham (IP27 0TJ)



Date: Saturday 7th May 2016 – 10.30-13.00

Venue: Forestry Commission Classroom, Santon Downham (IP27 0TJ)



Date: Saturday 28th May 2016 – 10.30-13.00

Venue: United Reformed Church, Thetford (IP24 2AD)



In addition to the workshops there will also be opportunities for volunteers and local groups to get involved with the project through carrying out research, conducting fieldwork, sharing existing knowledge and contributing to the project website.

Our recent research has touched on many themes relating to the development of the Brecks in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, including (but not limited to) the enclosure of heathland, the impact of rabbit warrens, the planting of pine lines, the evolution of designed landscapes, the decline of landed estates, mapping the landscape, tree planting and forestry and changes in the road and footpath network. This project will provide opportunities to add to our knowledge of these topics and to bring together these various strands to present an accessible view of the changing landscape. For more information on the project and how you can get involved please contact Dr Jon Gregory –

This is part of a wider HLF-funded project, Breaking New Ground, which encompasses a range of activities and events across the Brecks in Norfolk and Suffolk. You can find out more on the project website –