'Breckland' is the name given to some 370 square miles of inland Norfolk and Suffolk. It is an area with very distinctive landscapes, ranging from flint-strewn fields lined by twisted pines, to sandy heaths and remote villages of chalk and flint buildings. It is home to some of Britain's rarest birds and plants, and contains one of the highest densities of protected wildlife sites in Western Europe. Human interest is strong, too - the area is rich in archaeology, particularly in Neolithic sites, and was home to Boudicca and her famous Iceni. It maintains its strong identity, despite dramatic recent changes in the area, both in terms of the appearance of the landscape (agricultural intensification and extensive planting by the Forestry Commission) and the working patterns of those that inhabit it.The first major work on the area, "In Breckland Wilds" (1925), was written by the local historian W.G. Clarke. It was Clarke who first coined the term 'Breckland' and who compiled the first detailed account of its history, people and wildlife.
This was followed in 1956 by Olive Cook's "Breckland", which continued the story first told by Clarke and updated it to a post-war world of agricultural change and development. Both Clarke and Cook achieved a lyrical celebration of the area, but the landscape and human activities they described have now largely changed and a different Breckland is emerging. The objective of this new work is to present a comprehensive and authoritative evaluation of this landscape, its history, culture and wildlife, whilst also capturing its spirit and character. Revisiting many of the sites viewed and described by Clarke and Cook, the book takes a fresh look at this ancient, yet ever evolving, landscape.