Action Plans

Below is a list of the Species Action Plans that have been developed for Norfolk to date.

To see the complete list of UK priority habitats and species, please click here.

To read a report on the UK priority species that have been recorded from Norfolk, please download the 'Norfolk Biodiversity Action Plan Species Data Audit' by clicking here.

Species Action Plans

SpeciesNorfolk Status and Preferred HabitatLead Group
Barbastelle bat
(Barbastella barbastellus)

Norfolk is considered to be a stronghold for this species.

Ancient semi-natural woodland; species-rich hedgerows; ancient trees and wood-pasture; and riparian habitats

Farmland Group
Water vole
(Arvicola terrestris)

Throughout county but distribution patchy. Main stronghold in Broads.

Dykes, streams and rivers.

Waterbodies Group
Brown hare
(Lepus europaeus)

Perhaps as numerous in Norfolk as any county, and relatively abundant in some areas such as north Norfolk.

Arable farmland and grazing marshes.

Farmland Group
(Lutra lutra)

Occurs in most river catchments. Population is showing signs of increase.

Rivers and lakes

Waterbodies Group
Harbour porpoise
(Phocoena phocoena)
Small numbers occur annually

Coastal waters

Coastal Group
Brown Long-eared Bat
(Plecotus auritus)
Brown long-eared bats are widely distributed in Norfolk, although there are no records in the far west of the county (this may be a reflection of recording effort) Communities and Nature Group
Noctule Bat
(Nyctalus noctula)
Noctule bats appear to be less widely distributed, but again, this may simply reflect recording effort. Communities and Nature Group
Soprano Pipistrelle
(Pipistrellus pygmaeus)
Until 1998, soprano pipistrelles were considered to be the same species as common pipistrelle; as a result, it is believed to be under-recorded in the county. Communities and Nature Group
Barn Owl
(Tyto alba)

Despite being a species of conservation concern in Norfolk, UK and Europe, the Barn Owl remains an iconic species of Norfolk farmland.

Communities and Nature Group
(Botaurus stellaris)

A very few pairs breed along the north Norfolk coast and in the Broads. Some winter visitors.

Large reedbeds

Wetlands Group
Common Ringed Plover
(Charadrius hiaticula)

Ringed Plovers have a wide breeding distribution around the coast of Britain and Ireland, breeding mainly on coastal sand, gravel and shingle beaches, upper saltmarshes and artificial habitats such as the shores of gravel pits and reservoirs. In England, East Anglia’s extensive sandy and shingle beaches between the Thames and the Humber is an important stronghold for the species.

Coastal and Marine Group
Corn Bunting
(Emberiza calandra)

Sparsely distributed throughout the county, with important concentrations in the Fens and the North Norfolk Coast.

Open lowland habitats, such as farmland and grazing marsh

Farmland Group
Grey partridge
(Perdix perdix)

Patchy distribution often associated with light soils. Norfolk has always been an important area


Farmland Group
Little Tern
(Sternula albifrons)

Breeds at nine main sites in Norfolk, in the north and east of the county. These sites support one-third of the UK population.

The best nesting sites consist of suitable areas of mixed shingle and sand, with plenty of marram grass or other vegetation nearby where the chicks can hide.

Coastal Group

The 2004 national survey found 313 churring males in Norfolk.

Heathland and forestry re-stock areas.

Heathland Group
Reed bunting
(Emberiza schoeniclus)

The greatest concentrations are found on the northern, eastern, and south-western peripheries of the county.

Primarily associated with wetland habitats, similar to those used by sedge warbler.

Wetlands Group
(Alauda arvensis)

Widespread breeding bird and winter visitor despite likely decline.

Arable farmland and rough grassland.

Farmland Group
Spotted flycatcher
(Muscicapa striata)

Nests in scattered locations across Norfolk. There are an estimated 660 pairs in the county.

Open woodland habitats; gardens and churchyards with mature tress.

Communities and Nature Group
Stone curlew
(Burhinus oedicnemus)

Majority of UK pairs in Brecks, a handful of pairs in north-west Norfolk

Arable land on light soils and heathland

Farmland Group
Song thrush
(Turdus philomelos)

Relatively high numbers in Norfolk

Farmland, woodland parks and gardens

Communities and Nature Group
(Apus apus)

Summer visitor, across Norfolk. Availability of nest sites in new and older buildings is crucial to breeding success.


Communities and Nature Group
Tree Sparrow
(Passer montanus)

Patchily distributed across the county, with main concentrations in north and mid-Norfolk and the Brecks.


Farmland Group
Turtle Dove
(Streptopelia turtur)

Widespread, with core areas in the Brecks, north-west, mid and central Norfolk, and the Fens.

Associated with fertile, arable farmland in warm, dry situations.

Farmland Group

The 1997 national survey found between 237 and 248 pairs of woodlark in Norfolk.

Heathland and forestry re-stock areas, particularly in Breckland.

Healthland Group
Great-crested newt
(Triturus cristatus)

Thinly distributed in Breckland, mid, and south Norfolk. Major decline in Broads


Waterbodies Group
Silver-studded blue butterfly

Confined to five colonies.


Heathland Group
White-clawed crayfish
(Austropotamobius pallipes)

Rivers Wensum, Tat, Bure, Glaven and Yare

Clean, flowing water

Waterbodies Group
Little-whirlpool ram's-horn snail
(Anisus vorticulus)

Four sites in Broads, one on North Norfolk coast and STANTA in Brecks

Unpolluted calcareous water in well-vegetated marsh drains

Waterbodies Group
Depressed river mussel
(Pseudanodonta complanata)

Yare, Wensum, Waveney and in western rivers

Sediments in slow rivers

Waterbodies Group
Shining ram's-horn snail
(Segmentina nitida)

Broads and Thompson Common

Ponds and drains with unpolluted calcareous water

Waterbodies Group
Narrow-mouth whorl snail
(Vertigo angustior)

A few sites in Broads and East Anglian Plain Natural Area

Marshes including saltmarsh

Waterbodies Group
Desmoulin's whorl snail
(Vertigo moulinsiana)

Increasing number of sites in many river systems

Tall swamp vegetation

Waterbodies Group
Sea Anemone
Starlet sea anemone
(Nematostella vectensis)

Numerous in a very few coastal lagoons

Saline lagoons

Costal Group
Sandy Stiltball
(Battarraea phalloides)

First described from Norfolk (1782). Seen sporadically since. Now at two or three sites

Roadside verges on light soils

Communities and nature group
Nail fungus
(Poronia punctata)

Last recorded at Holme. Possibly extinct.

Unimproved grassland hay meadows

Heathland Group
Starry breck-lichen
(Buellia asterella)

Now only one UK site in Brecks

Grazed Breck heath

Heathland Group
Orange-fruited elm-lichen
(Caloplaca luteoalba)

Has been recorded at six sites. Now only known from one.

Roadside and parkland trees

Woodland Group
Norfolk flapwort
(Leiocolea rutheana)

Recorded at six or seven sites, but now only known at one

Calcareous flushes on fens

Wetland Group
Vascular Plants
Shepherd's Needle
(Scandix pecten-veneris)

Has declined alarmingly in recent years, but still occurs in approximately 30 tetrads in Norfolk (mainly to the south of the county).

Largely restricted to the clay plateau.  Most often found on the margins of winter cereals.

Farmland BAP Group
(Pilularia globulifera)

In recent years, has been present at only two sites in Norfolk.

Semi-aquatic; grows in the muddy margins of shallow waterbodies and ephemeral pools.

Waterbodies BAP Group
Red-Tipped Cudweed
(Filago lutescens)

Recorded from only five sites since 1950 and at only one site in 1997.

Light, open soil on extensively managed arable land or other disturbed ground, including field edges, tracks and sandy commons.

Farmland BAP Group
Red Hemp-Nettle
(Galeopsis angustifolia)

Now very scarce and recently seen only at Snettisham RSPB Reserve.

Typically occurs on light, chalky soils but at Snettisham is found on a shingle bank.

Farmland BAP Group
Small-Flowered Catchfly
(Silene gallica)

Occurs in 12 one-km squares in Norfolk; particularly abundant along a disused railway line at Gimingham.

Arable land, waste ground and sandy seashores.

Farmland BAP Group
Tower Mustard
(Arabis glabra)

Almost confined to Breckland; found at 17 sites between 1988 and 1999.

Forest rides; light, nutrient-poor, sandy soils.

Heathland Group
Ribbon-leaved water- plantain
(Alisma gramineum)

Discovered in 1972 at Langmere, thought to have been introduced by ducks. Now extinct

Still waters

Waterbodies Group
Fen orchid
(Liparis loeselii)

Three sites

Mown fens

Wetland Group
Floating water-plantain
(Luronium natans)

Three populations at Potter Heigham (2008)

Ditches and dykes with quiet, clean water and high levels of light.

Waterbodies Group
Holly-leaved naiad
(Najas marina)

A few sites in the Broads, its only UK area.

Broads and newly-created turf ponds

Waterbodies Group
Greater water parsnip
(Sium latifolium)

Norfolk remains one of the plant's strongholds, with good populations in Broadland and the Ouse Washes.

Thrives in ditches and wet fens where water is kept open by occasional clearance.

Waterbodies Group
Native black poplar
(Populus nigra ssp betulifolia)

Approximately 70 mature trees survive in Norfolk.

A tree of hedges and open spaces.

Woodland Group
A Ground Beetle
(Ophonus laticollis)

Recorded from Cranwich Camp, Gallows Hill (Thetford) and Roydon Common.

Found in grassland and among open scrub on chalk or sandy soils, often under stones.

Heathland Group
Brush-Thighed Seed-Eater Beetle
(Harpalus froelichii)

Confined to the Brecks.

Sandy soils at the margins of agricultural fields.

Heathland Group
Flixweed flea beetle
(Psylliodes sophiae)

Last recorded in 1996 at Bodney Camp, part of the Stanford Principal Training Area.

A species of disturbed ground. Appears to be associated only with flixweed (Descurainia sophia), which is believed to act as a food plant for the larvae.

Farmland Group
Baltic Stonewort
(Chara baltica)
Bearded Stonewort
(Chara canescens)
Convergent Stonewort
(Chara connivens)
Intermediate Stonewort
(Chara intermedia)
Starry Stonewort
(Nitellopsis obtuse)

Baltic, Convergent, Intermediate and Starry Stoneworts are all found within the Martham and Blackfleet Broads; the Bearded Stonewort is now believed to be extinct in Norfolk.

Stoneworts favour clean, clear water.

Waterbodies Group
Tassel stonewort
(Tolypella intricata)

Two recent records from Norfolk (Cantley Marshes and Sculthorpe Fen); a species of alkaline water in pools, canals, ditches and the poached edges of ponds.

Waterbodies Group
Crucian carp
(Carassius carassius)

Recent research in North Norfolk has suggested a decline of 75% between the 1970s and 2008/9.

Found in freshwater systems, but characteristic of ponds and river backwaters.

Waterbodies Group
Norfolk hawker
(Aeshna isosceles)

Occupies seven river valley systems/waterbody areas in east Norfolk, with the majority in the Norfolk Broads.

Breeds in fen and grazing marsh dyke systems. Requires clean water, a rich aquatic flora and sufficient terrestrial space to hunt.

Waterbodies Group