Englands fluctuating Meres/lakes/ponds | Wretham Meres Breckland, Norfolk
Englands fluctuating Meres (special small lakes or ponds) are found in the Breckland area of Norfolk and a couple of great examples are located at Wretham. The Wretham Meres Norfolk have been scientifically studied due to their unique habitat and geology.
Is the habitat and wildlife so special because of the natural energy found in the area? Is that same energy the reason why these Carolina Bay type ovals are found here? Does this explain why Wretham Meres look like a crater chain?
Wretham Meres Breckland - self fullfilling prophecy
There are twelve semi-permanent meres in Breckland with a fluctuating water level, all inNorfolk. The best known are Ringmere and Langmere at East Wretham Heath, the first Nature Reserve in Breckland, the Devil's Punch Bowl and Fowlmere in the Stanford TrainingArea. These unique hydro-geological features are also biologically important systems fed by base-rich groundwater with no in-flow or out-flow streams.
...Unlike almost all other inland freshwater bodies the meres are naturally self-sustaining withno tendency to grow over with swamp, reedbed or woodlands. Instead the fluctuating waterlevel constantly destroys established vegetation and creates bare mud for fresh colonisationby a number of rare and local plant species which require low competition and low nutrientlevels.
In the flooded state the meres are characterised by pondweeds and stoneworts. In the dryphase the vegetation occurs as concentric rings of different plant communities with two rarebryophytes (a moss and a liverwort) living on exposed bare mud. The invertebrate fauna alsoincludes rare species and a highly characteristic group of species which can survive dryperiods either by burrowing into damp soil or because they form a desiccated egg stage whichawaits the re-wetting of the system. Two such species are known in Britain only from themeres. The bird life of the Meres is rich in wildfowl in the water-filled years, especially littlegrebe, tufted duck, gadwall, pochard, and the occasional shelduck.
...Meres were a focus of early human settlement and frequently have archaeologicaldeposits around, and sometimes in them.
Natural Areas | Breckland | English Nature .org.uk
Draining a Mere at Wretham Norfolk
Wretham Hall, the seat of Wyrley Birch, Esq., is situated about six miles north of Thetford, in that extensive tract of open sandy plains which occupies much of the south-western part of Norfolk and of the north-western part of Suffolk; a tract which may be called upland in comparison with the fens, but of very moderate elevation above the sea-level, as is shown by the slow course of the streams flowing from it.
About Wretham there are several meres, or small natural sheets of water, without any outlet. The one to which my attention was particularly called by Mr. Birch occupied about forty-eight acres, and was situated in a slight natural depression, the ground sloping gently to it from all sides.
The water has been drawn off by machinery, for the purpose of making use, as manure, of the black peaty mud which formed the bottom. This black mud, which is in parts above 20 feet deep, is nothing else than a soft, rotten, unconsolidated peat; or perhaps it should be described as vegetable matter in a more complete state of decomposition than ordinary peat, showing no distinct trace of vegetable structure. At the depth of about 15 feet, in this peat, occurs a distinct horizontal layer, from 2 to 6 inches thick in various parts, of compressed but undecayed moss, unmixed with any other substance.
Notice of some appearances observed on Draining a Mere near Wretham Hall, Norfolk | Geological Society