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Sustead Cluster

Sustead Common

A Black Spleenwort fern can be found in the hedge bank near the entrance gate.

The dry neutral grassland on Sustead Common includes characteristic wildflower meadow plants such as Knapweed (July-September) which is abundant, Agrimony (June-September), Oxeye Daisy (May-September), Meadow Buttercup (April-August) and a variety of grass species including bents, Meadow Foxtail and Yorkshire Fog. 

The wildflower grassland supports a range of butterflies including Essex Skipper (July-August), Large Skipper (June-July), Meadow Brown (July-August), Painted Lady (June-August), Small Skipper (July-August), and Small Tortoiseshell (April-September), while in the canopy of the Oaks, Purple Hairstreaks (July-August) can sometimes be seen flitting about.

Meanwhile, the fast-flowing water of the Gur Beck attracts damselflies such as the Azure Damselfly (May-August) and the Large Red Damselfly (April-September). 

Several Alder trees, with dangling catkins (February-April) and later, attractive cones, are growing by the bridge and these attract Goldfinches and Siskins. 

At dusk, you may hear the hooting of a Tawny Owl, and may even be lucky enough to spot one in one of the mature Oaks.

Autumnal days produce some interesting fungi, including Trooping Funnel (August-December), Snowy Waxcap (August-November), Fiery Milkcap (August-October), and two species rarely recorded in Norfolk – Entoloma undatum (September-October) and Rhodocybe popinalis (late summer-autumn).

Surveyor’s Allotment

In the spring the area near the scrape is carpeted with the bright yellow flowers of Lesser Celandines (February-May). A clump of Dog Violets (March-May) grows near the gate at the southern end of the reserve.

There are several clumps of Soft Shield Fern which benefit from the shaded and damp ground in the south east corner. 

The patches of damp grassland feature Soft Rush, and two Aspen trees. 

The scrape, created by the Trust, includes Marsh Thistle (June-September), Water Mint (July-October) and Lesser Water Parsnip (July-September), as well as Creeping Buttercup (April-October), Meadowsweet (June-September), Celery-Leaved Buttercup (May-September) and a few Cuckooflowers (March-June). 

In autumn, a number of fungi spring up, including the rarely recorded Helvella latispora (late summer and autumn) – only the third record in Norfolk, and others such as Wood Woollyfoot (July to October), Cushion Bracket growing on Blackthorn and Sulphur Tuft, which is fluorescent under ultraviolet light.

The shrubs, trees and damp grassland provide perfect habitat for a variety of butterflies such as Comma (April & June-September), Gatekeeper (June-August), Green-veined White (May & July-August), Orange-Tip (April-May) and Peacock (April-May & July-August). 

These habitats also provide a home for a plethora of moths – a total of 315 species have been recorded at the Sustead sites, including the Brimstone Moth (April- October), White Plume (June-July & September) and Buff Tip (May-July). 

In summer the scrape and stream dance with dragonflies and damselflies, including Banded Demoiselle (May-August), Broad-bodied Chaser (May-August), Brown Hawker (July-October), Common Darter (June-November) and Ruddy Darter (June-September). 

The trees and hedges provide habitat for many woodland birds, including Blackcap, Whitethroat, Common Chiffchaff and Yellowhammer, as well as mixed tit flocks in the winter. 

A walk through on a winter’s morning may well put up several Snipe, which benefit from the soft ground around the winter scrape.

Spurrell’s Wood

The feeders near the hide attract Blue Tit, Great Tit, Long-Tailed Tit and Marsh Tit, and these species also take advantage of the bird boxes that we have installed throughout the woodland. 

Woodcock roost here in autumn/winter – if you accidentally disturb one it will fly off like a dart between the trees. 

As you walk around the paths you may here the soft call of Bullfinches, while in the spring and early summer you are likely to be serenaded by the songs of Blackcap, Whitethroat, Common Chiffchaff and Yellowhammer.

The dead tree just south of Spurrell’s Wood often attracts a Great Spotted Woodpecker – your attention may be drawn to it by the sound of its drumming.

The woodland attracts winter thrushes such as Fieldfare and Redwing. 

A rare Norfolk Comfrey plant grows on the southern perimeter – thought to be endemic to the British Isles and found only in a handful of sites, almost exclusively in Norfolk, and popular with bees.

Spurrell’s Wood is a plantation of mixed broadleaved, mainly native trees, including Hornbeam, Oak, Ash, several willow species and Hazel. The latter is coppiced on a rotational basis.

The woodland rides, Brambles and Stinging Nettles create the ideal home for many butterfly species including Brimstone (April-May & August), Holly Blue (April-May & August), Red Admiral (June-September), Ringlet (July), Silver washed Fritillary (July-August), Speckled Wood (April-September), and White Admiral (July). 

The dry ditches on the boundaries provide a home to the Polypody fern.

The marshy area around the backwater off the beck, created by the Trust in the north west corner of the site, has plants typical of water margins, with Marsh Thistle (June-September), Water Mint (July-October) and Lesser Water Parsnip (July-September), all frequent and with occasional Angelica (June-September). 

Dragonflies and damselflies recorded at the site include Black-tailed Skimmer (May-August), Migrant Hawker (July-October, Southern Hawker (June-October) and Blue-tailed Damselfly (May-September). 

The damp days of autumn create the perfect habitat for fungi such as Pearly Webcap (July to November), an occasional record for Norfolk, and the dramatic Amethyst Deceiver (June to November) and Fragile Brittlegill (August to October). 

Roadside Nature Reserve

The Roadside Nature Reserve is notable for its small population of Early Purple Orchids (April-June) in the hedgerow adjacent to the Common and a few spikes of Common Spotted Orchid (June-July) in the northern hedgerow.

It also hosts, among others, Ransoms (April-June), Bugle (April-June) and Cuckooflower (March-June), Primrose (March-May) and Germander Speedwell (March-July). 

For a full list of the flora and fauna spotted at our sites, see our Species Lists

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