Broadly speaking the main habitats can be identified as rough grassland, dry heath, wet heath, bog, fen, carr, scrub, secondary woodland and freshwater. Each of these major ecological communities has its 'indicator' species, which characterise the area.
The highest point of the Commons is a hill known locally as 'Pill-box' hill, because of the presence of a Second World War observation post. The height of the hill above sea level is about 100 feet (33m).
In the low areas between the hills and ridges the ground is generally wet due to the presence of streams and springs. Some of the water is overflow from the Sheringham Waterworks situated in woods at the back of the Commons. However, the drainage system of the Commons is complex owing to the nature and origin of the springs. Some springs are ephemeral, the result of sudden downpours, and issuing from the Pleistocene gravels, others, particularly in the north of the Common, may be due to upwelling from the underlying chalk.
No habitat is static and in the UK the ultimate goal is for any habitat to become woodland through a process known as ‘succession’. Typical succession for lowland Britain is shown in the following diagram.
Vegetation Succession in Lowland Britain
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