NWT Thompson Common

Thompson Common is famous for its pingos, a series of around 400 post-glacial depressions.

These shallow, fluctuating pools harbour a variety of interesting flora and fauna. Indeed, the whole of the site contains a stunning array of plant communities and an outstanding collection of plants – more than 400 species have been recorded.

Thompson Common is also one of the most important sites in the county for dragonflies and damselflies. 19 species have been recorded as breeding (or possibly breeding). Visiting the site’s larger pingos in July and early August offers an amazing spectacle, with huge numbers of dragonflies filling the air. 25 species of butterfly have also been recorded and over 600 species of beetle.


Opening times, entry costs, facilities and directions

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Things to see

As you leave the car park on the Great Eastern Pingo Trail you pass through a kissing gate into mosquito infested woodland – walk with speed! As you reach the open area beyond you find your first pingos. These are former ice age mounds that collapsed when the ice lenses beneath them melted. Now they are pools full of life. The entire Ping Trail is a circular 8 mile walk, but you will find most of the site’s dragonflies around the first few pools you encounter. However Thompson Water, about half way around the trail, is the main local stronghold of Norfolk Hawkers.


Top species

Scarce Emerald Damselfly

A near threatened species

Main flight period is May to September.

This is a great site to compare it with the more common Emerald Damselfly

Image by Ouwesok, flickr



Seasonal Highlights

Norfolk Hawkers begin to appear in late May or early June, as do a few Hairy Dragonflies. The three emerald damselfly species are on the wing just a few weeks later. Both Common and Ruddy Darters breed here from mid-summer onwards, as do Common Blue and Azure Damselflies. Mid-summer also sees Brown and Southern Hawkers in the air, along with Red-eyed and Common Blue Damselflies abundant on Thompson Water.


Images by Paul Blathwayt

Contact Information

Norfolk Wildlife Trust
Bewick House
22 Thorpe Road

T: 01603 625540

NWT Thompson Common