Norfolk Valley Fens

Site details

UK map showing location of Norfolk Valley Fens Special Area of Conservation/Site of Community Importance.
Location of Norfolk Valley Fens SAC/SCI/cSAC


When undertaking an appropriate assessment of impacts at a site, all features of European importance (both primary and non-primary) need to be considered.

Annex I habitats that are a primary reason for selection of this site

7230 Alkaline fens
Norfolk Valley Fens is one of two sites selected in East Anglia, in eastern England, where the main concentration of lowland Alkaline fens occurs. This site comprises a series of valley-head spring-fed fens. Such spring-fed flush fens are very rare in the lowlands. Most of the vegetation at this site is of the small sedge fen type, mainly referable to M13 Schoenus nigricansJuncus subnodulosus mire, but there are transitions to reedswamp and other fen and wet grassland types. The individual fens vary in their structure according to intensity of management and provide a wide range of variation. There is a rich flora associated with these fens, including species such as grass-of-Parnassus Parnassia palustris, common butterwort Pinguicula vulgaris, marsh helleborine Epipactis palustris and narrow-leaved marsh-orchid Dactylorhiza traunsteineri.

Annex I habitats present as a qualifying feature, but not a primary reason for selection of this site

4010 Northern Atlantic wet heaths with Erica tetralix
4030 European dry heaths
6210 Semi-natural dry grasslands and scrubland facies on calcareous substrates (Festuco-Brometalia) (* important orchid sites)
6410 Molinia meadows on calcareous, peaty or clayey-silt-laden soils (Molinion caeruleae)
7210 Calcareous fens with Cladium mariscus and species of the Caricion davallianae  * Priority feature
91E0 Alluvial forests with Alnus glutinosa and Fraxinus excelsior (Alno-Padion, Alnion incanae, Salicion albae)  * Priority feature

Annex II species that are a primary reason for selection of this site

1014 Narrow-mouthed whorl snail  Vertigo angustior
Norfolk Valley Fens represents narrow-mouthed whorl snail Vertigo angustior in East Anglia. At Flordon Common a strong population occurs in flushed grassland with yellow iris Iris pseudacorus maintained by light grazing.
1016 Desmoulin`s whorl snail  Vertigo moulinsiana
Norfolk Valley Fens is one of several sites representing Desmoulin’s whorl snail Vertigo moulinsiana in East Anglia. Within Norfolk Valley Fens there are a number of marginal fens around pingos – pools that formed in hollows left when large blocks of ice melted at the end of the last Ice Age. These are very ancient wetlands and several support strong populations of V. moulinsiana as part of a rich assemblage of Red Data Book and Nationally Scarce species in standing water habitat.

Annex II species present as a qualifying feature, but not a primary reason for site selection

Not applicable.

Many designated sites are on private land: the listing of a site in these pages does not imply any right of public access.