What to See
Birds and butterflies
Small birds nest in the hedges, and bullfinch and green woodpecker may be seen, with buzzard and kestrel hunting overhead. Look out for the song thrush which usually sing from a prominent perch. The song thrush population is less than half of what it used to be making their popular song an even more special to hear - listen for its repetitive call.
The rich grasslands and hedgerows of spring and summer attract many butterflies to be enjoy including Brown Argus, Brown Hairstreak, Meadow Brown, Marbled White, Small Skipper and Gatekeeper.
Plants and flowers
See exotic looking Bee Orchids blooming here from June to July. The single flower of the bee orchid is the culmination of up to eight years growth - its shape has evolved to attract male bees and it produces a seductive scent like a female bee.
Look out for the pink flowers of common centaury, that close in the afternoon hiding its distinct yellow centre; the pale blue streaked flowers of Pale Flax in late spring; and the vivid yellow-wort flowers. Herbs to be seen here include uplifting St John’s-wort, Wild Carrot, Hoary Plantain, Bird’s-Foot Trefoil, Salad Burnet and Ladies Bedstraw.
The hedgerows are rich with elm, hawthorn and field maple. Unusually there are several large Spurge Laurel and look out for the four pollarded willows in the hedgerow beside the gate onto Perry Lake Lane.
The reserve provides a home for threatened dormice, roe deer, rabbit, fox and a family of weasels has been seen here. These small, active predators, eat every 24 hours to avoid starvation, so may be glimpsed both day and night as they seek out their next meal amongst the hedgerows.
Amongst the grasses
Listen for the summer sounds of grasshoppers, including meadow and rufous, and crickets such as dark bush, speckled bush and great green bush cricket.
Yarley fields nature reserve lies on the gentle southern slope of Yarley Hill in Somerset.
The geology on which the reserve stands is part of the lias clay outlier that forms a link between the Isle of Wedmore to the west and the higher ground at Wells and the Mendip Hills to the east
The fields are mainly unimproved with a marked calcareous influence, especially on the steepest area of the top north western field.
The fields are summer grazed, whilst invasive weeds and scrub are controlled to maintain the species diversity of the grassland. Sections of hedgerow are cut back each year on rotation, no more than twice in every five years, to help maintain a dense structure. The internal hedgerows are being restored by being laid with any gaps replanted.
13.17 acres (5.335 ha)
Location & Access
Open access from Perry Lake Lane or Yarley Field Lane. Parking at the reserve is restricted to the Pery Lake Lane gateway.
How to get there:
The nature reserve is 5km west of Wells, 1km east of Bleadney and 1km south west of Yarley village.
Grid Reference: ST 496 446.
Click the following link for a full list of Somerset wildlife events