The area has the UK’s only inland sand dunes and relic glacial ponds known as ‘pingos’ . There are also meres or lakes that are fed from underground water and five rivers which cross the Brecks.
The unique wildlife has been shaped by the soils, climate and human land-use. The Brecks has both sandy and chalky soils and lies in the driest part of England with ground-frosts occurring in all months of the year. Farming on these marginal soils led to fields only farmed once in 3 to 5 years and then left to rest. These areas formed the original ‘brakes’ more recently know as Breckland and The Brecks.
Rabbit farming or ‘warrening’ in the medieval period led to vast open heathland warrens with few or no trees and shrubs. Recent forest planting of the largest lowland forest in the UK has attracted some of its own special wildlife with over 25% of UK woodlark and over 10% of UK breeding nightjars. Over 65% of UK’s Stone Curlews are found here as well; an enigmatic bird that breeds here after over wintering in Spain and North Africa.