You have now reached stop number six on the history tour
of Whitlingham Country Park.
The entire landscape has been shaped by centuries of
human activity, with most of the 24 hectares of Whitlingham Woods having
been sculpted into a series of valleys and pits by the chalk and flint
The lime kiln here is one of the best examples remaining
Looking inside the lime kiln. Our video camera shows
much more than can be seen by the naked eye
If you were standing on the site about 120 years ago the
valley sides would have been gleaming with white chalk and the smell of
acrid fumes from the lime kiln would have filled the air.
The lime from this pit would have been taken to the riverside,
drawn by ponies, along a tramway. From here it would
have been transported by wherry along the River Yare to the cement works
at Berney Arms and Burgh Castle.
The kiln itself is built in a style unique to East Anglia.
Lime was important to the local economy for improving farmland and the
sale of lime mortar.
More than a century later, the kiln still has an important role - providing
a safe haven for hibernating and roosting bats.
This hibernaculum is the perfect home for Daubenton, Natterers
and Brown Long-eared bats, just three of the 17 species of bats to be
found in the UK.
Bats (order chiroptera) are the only mammals capable of
true flight and feed on many food sources including insects, small mammals,
fish and reptiles. The best time to look out for them is around sunset
between May to October as they hibernate in winter
when food is scarce.
The high concentration of chalky soil might also account
for the large numbers of snails in the area surround the lime kiln as
it's believed that snails prefer calcium rich and non-acidic soils, such
as that found in many parts of Whitlingham Woods.
Having viewed the lime kiln, walk back the way you
came. Don't go back up the steps, but
go through the kissing-gate at the end, cross the road, turn left and
walk back along the river.
After walking past the wooden sculpture in the small
picnic area, go back across the road and into the car park on your left.