Wednesday, May 13, 2009

New Website

Please visit us at for updates, information and news. Thank you!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Important Message from CMS - Volunteers required!

To all Friends of Norton Common and CMS volunteers

Due to a change in our volunteer task programme we have the opportunity to hold another task at Norton Common next Wednesday 26th March. We are therefore going to carry on the path improvement work of the past few years. We will be working along the east/west ride, which is the grassy path that runs between the tree-lined avenue/cycle path and Cowslip Hill. For those of you joining us on site, meet at 10.15 at the junction between the ride and the avenue (not far from the tennis courts). We'll be cutting back bushes to widen the path. Weather permitting we'll be having a bonfire.All tools and training will be provided. As always, we'll lay on teas and coffees but bring lunch if you plan to stay all day. Wear old clothes and sturdy footwear or wellies (the common may be wet and muddy).
Hope you can join us.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Youngsters’ efforts boost the Friends


When Letchworth Garden City was built after 1903, Norton Common was retained as an open space close to the town centre. Local farmers once had rights to pasture cattle but the farms went as the houses advanced. Without regular grazing, most of the grassland gradually disappeared under trees. Members of Letchworth Naturalists kept open some parts where
interesting plants grow and the CMS has joined in for over 20 years.

Now that the Friends of Norton Common has successfully recruited plenty of members, more ambitious clearance work and tackling narrow and muddy paths is possible. Twenty-five scouts, cubs and beavers helped them widen a path alongside the Pix Brook and another in a
wooded area. CMS staff and Wednesday volunteers removed larger bushes and stumps to complete the job and accomplish targets set by the management plan.

Applying for Green Flag status for the site will be a priority in 2008.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Work Party 20th January 2008

Thank you to all who turned out on a beautiful crisp winter's day, to help clear scrub from beside the muddy pathways between the swimming pool and Wilbury Road: your efforts have been recorded for posterity and are available to view at: !

Friday, November 30, 2007

Black Squirrels and Munjac Deer

Black Squirrels

Squirrels can be seen on Norton Common all the year round They are not a difference species – they are just grey squirrels with a lot more black or dark brown hair in their pelage (fur).

The grey squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis) is not native to Britain. They were first introduced from the United States in the mid 19th century. The black ones are just grey squirrels with high levels of the black pigment ‘melanin’ in their hair. They are called ‘melanic grey squirrels’. Although generally rare across Britain, black squirrels are found in: Cambridgeshire, Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire.

Munjac Deer

In the autumn and winter, as the undergrowth dies down, these small deer are more noticeable. They are usually more active at dawn or dusk but, in recent years on The Common, they appear to be bolder and are often seen during the day. Muntjac were first introduced from China to Woburn Park in Bedfordshire in the early 20th century. Deliberate releases and escapes from Woburn, led to feral populations establishing all over the place, including Letchworth. They are russet brown in summer, grey brown in winter and are small, up to 52cm. Males have short antlers which can regrow. They feed on herbs, brambles, ivy, heather, coppice shoots, etc. and can live for 15 years or more. A common name for muntjac is "barking deer" after their repeated, loud bark when rutting and at other times. They can be heard several roads away – you may have heard them at any time of the day or year. They breed all year round. We don’t know how many live on Norton Common. They are usually seen in ones or twos, never in herds.Muntjac are the oldest known deer, appearing 15-35 million years ago, - remains have been found in Miocene deposits in France and Germany.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Friends of Norton Common Calendar 2008

Please feel free to download and print our 2008 calendar (and rearrange the months in the correct order), so you have an beautiful image of the common, wherever you are, all year round!