Somerset Wildlife Trust

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Wildflower Meadows

There’s a danger of lethargy in the volley of stories about wildlife in danger but the loss of 97% of hay meadows, in the last century, is one that deserves our attention. In Somerset we are fortunate to have nature reserves where the riches of hay meadows, properly managed by the Trust, can still be enjoyed.

A trip to Edford Meadow, Hollow Marsh Meadow or White Field in the next few weeks will be well rewarded. The hay cut takes place at the end of July so be sure to visit the hay meadow nature reserves before then. And please stick to paths to avoid damaging the hay.

Hollow Marsh Meadow

Hollow Marsh Meadow is bursting with the colours of the rainbow in early summer. Dyer's Greenweed, with small, pretty yellow flowers, mingles with Black Knapweed with its black stems and bright pink thistle-like heads and Pignut, a largish flower-head made up of lots of small white florets.Look out also for the unsusual flowers of Lady’s Mantle, which have no petals, appearing in cabbage like clusters above the foliage in late spring and summer.

Directions: For directions and details of access, link to the reserve page.

Edford Meadow

These four fields have been managed almost entirely without the use of agri-chemicals at least since 1945. You can see more than 90 different flowering plants at Edford Meadow, renowned for the sheer variety of orchid species including Common Spotted, Green Winged, Heath Spotted and Southern Marsh, all of which are at their best in June. Yarrow, Cowslips and Burnet Saxifrage are also present.

Directions: For directions and details of access, link to the reserve page.

Yarley Fields

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 St John’s-wort, Wild Carrot, Hoary Plantain, Bird’s-Foot Trefoil, Salad Burnet and Ladies' Bedstraw. Not strictly a hay meadow but still well worth a visit to enjoy the wildflowers at this species rich grassland.

Directions: For directions, link to the Yarley Fields reserve page.

White Field

This reserve is a species-rich hay meadow where you may see Adder's Tongue Fern, Oxeye Daisies, Pyramidal Orchids and Selfheal. The copse provides cover for foxes and deer and boxing brown hares have been seen.

Directions: White Field is to be found off a footpath which starts from Henley Road, Butleigh at Grid Reference ST 523 331.

Surely visits to hay meadows are what weekends are for!  What could be more relaxing? But you only have a few weeks each year, so make the most of them.

Did you know?

You can adopt a wildflower meadow in Somerset and help to conserve these beautiful areas for decades to come. Adopt a Wildflower Meadow






Click the arrow above to watch a
video of Barbary Meadows


Black Knapweed

Black Knapweed

cowslip matthew marshall

Cowslips © Matthew Marshall

Bee Orchid

 Bee Orchid

Photographs of Black Knapweed and Bee Orchid courtesy of Wikipedia