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My Norwich

About Mousehold Heath

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 Mousehold Conservators, prized for its wildlife and is a place where people can go to unwind from the pace of city life.

Norwich City Council owns the land, support the Conservators and deliver services on their behalf.


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.

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.

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.


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.

Mousehold Heath Earth Heritage Trail

Find out about the geological history of this wonderful heathland and its range of fascinating the Mousehold Heath Trail.

Activities on Mousehold

Mousehold Heath Conservators

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. The group oversees the management and protection of Mousehold Heath.

If you would like to become involved with initiatives to benefit Mousehold Heath, please contact us.

Mousehold Heath Conservators annual report

The annual report provides an overview of site management works undertaken on the heath during the course of the year. It also highlights the level of voluntary activity as well as the numbers of events, walks and surveys undertaken.

Full annual report

Annual report summary 2021

Mousehold Heath management plan

The Mousehold Heath management plan for 2019-28 has been published following a public consultation (which ran from 25 January to 12 February 2019) and approval at the Mousehold Heath Conservators committee meeting on 15 March 2019.

The plan is intended to guide the management of the site over the next ten years. It covers a wide range of topics including nature conservation and public use of the site.

Mousehold Heath Defenders

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.

Visit Mousehold Heath Defenders on Facebook.


The byelaws protect Mousehold Heath and help to ensure that it is a place that can be enjoyed by everyone.

They allow us to monitor unacceptable activities and if necessary prevent them altogether.

Breaching a bylaw is an offence and an offender may be issued with a fine.

Byelaws for Mousehold Heath