River Wissey Lovell Fuller

Can you find a Norfolk poppy field?

August 2006

An appeal from the Norfolk Wildlife Trust for a census of Norfolk Poppy Fields


Norfolk Wildlife Trust is conducting a survey of poppy fields in Norfolk and wants your help to discover how many poppy fields remain and where they can be found. We are asking everyone to look out for the spectacular sight of fields washed crimson by thousands of poppies.

David North, Norfolk Wildlife trust's Education Manager commented: "Now is the best time to look out for on of the plant world's most spectacular sights - fields coloured red with poppies. Poppies are Norfolk's county flower and yet nobody knows how many fields of poppies there are in Norfolk or where they are."

Poppies flower from June through to late summer but the next few weeks is the very best time to look out for fields full of poppies. It was more than a century ago, in the 1880s that the writer Clement Scott popularised the Norfolk coast between Cromer and Overstrand and first coined the name "Poppyland" for this area. Poppies remain much loved flowers, and a field of poppies must be one of the easiest natural spectacles to pick-out. It may seem surprising but nobody knows whether poppy fields can still be found in "Poppyland" or whether other areas off Norfolk are today more deserving of the name.

The sight of a whole field washed crimson with poppies is unforgettable but the once familiar sight of poppies covering a whole field of wheat or barley with a sea of colour is no longer a common sight. Two factors explain the decline. Firstly the more efficient cleaning of cereal seed means that poppy seeds are no longer dispersed with the seed corn. Secondly the development of powerful herbicides to suppress weeds has enabled farmers to have largely poppy free cereal fields. However, this survey will help discover if poppies are making a come back in Norfolk on area of set-aside farmland.

This survey is part of Norfolk Wildlife Trust's "Peoples and Wildlife" project and supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Further details of the survey from David North or Gemma Walker on 01603 625 540 or contact Norfolk Wildlife Trust, 22 Thorpe Road, Norwich NR1 1RY. E-mail www.norfolkwildlifetrust.org.uk

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