Mousehold Heath is a unique 88 hectare (184 acre) area made up of heathland, woodland and recreational open space located in the north of Norwich. It is the largest local nature reserve managed by Norwich City Council and is important for its wildlife and as a place where people can come and unwind from the pace of city life.
Mousehold Heath Earth Heritage Trail
The Mousehold Heath Earth Heritage Trail is available online, where you can find out about the geological history of this wonderful heathland and its range of facinating wildlife.
Click here for the trail
In Tudor times, Mousehold Heath stretched as far north as South Walsham and was 22 miles round. The surviving remnant of the heath was given to Norwich City Council (then known as the local corporation) to look after on behalf of the citizens of Norwich in 1880.
Gilman Road, 1910
This was officially recorded by Parliament in an agreement called the Mousehold Heath Confirmation Act. In 1884, Mousehold Heath Conservators, an independent governing body for the heath, was formed.
Up until the early 1900s, Mousehold Heath was open countryside with few trees - a classic heathland landscape. The area was kept open by grazing animals and by local people collecting bedding and feed for livestock and fuel for the winter. As the way people lived changed, these traditions disappeared. This resulted in a gradual loss of open heath to scrub and woodland.
Aerial view, 1988
The site is now mostly covered by broad-leaved semi-natural woodland, although some areas of heath remain and are actively managed.
Mousehold is part of north Norfolk's Heathland Heritage Project and has been funded through the Heritage Lottery Tomorrow's Heathland Heritage Project. The project aims to re-establish open areas of heather and gorse.
Heathland under restoration
Mousehold Heath management plan
Following extensive public consultation in early 2008, a new management plan has been produced for Mousehold Heath on behalf of the Mousehold Conservators and Norwich City Council. The plan is intended to guide the management of the site over the next five years and beyond, and it covers a wide range of issues including nature conservation and public use of the site.
Mousehold Heath management plan (2.13Mb pdf)
There is a wealth of wildlife on Mousehold Heath, including birds, lizards, butterflies, dragonflies and small mammals. As well as common woodland birds, there are green and greater-spotted woodpeckers and sparrowhawks and kestrels are sometimes seen. In early spring, mating frogs gather around the Vinegar Pond and on warm summer days lizards can often be seen in the open heathland areas.
The heath is very well used, and is particularly favoured by dog walkers.
Events on Mousehold
Mousehold is used for a variety of events. Amongst these are concerts, guided walks, conservation initiatives, football matches and fundraising events. Details of future events will be advertised here.
Mousehold Heath Conservators
The Mousehold Heath Conservators was created in 1884 after Norwich City Council took responsibility for Mousehold Heath in 1880.
It is the official independent group, made up of city councillors, representatives of professional bodies and members of the public which meets four times a year, that oversees the management and protection of Mousehold Heath.
Mousehold Heath Conservators' committee meetings.
If you would like to become involved with initiatives to benefit Mousehold Heath, please contact the parks and open spaces team.
Mousehold Heath Defenders
The Mousehold Heath Defenders is a voluntary action group set up in 1972 ' to protect Mousehold against encroachment on its area and its environment.'
The group is independent of the Mousehold Heath Conservators and Norwich City Council, although it is represented on the Conservators.
For further information about the Mousehold Heath Defenders, visit its website www.mouseholdheathdefenders.webeden.co.uk
Pitch and putt at Mousehold Heath