Saturday, 24 April 2010

Snakes Head Fritillaries

I took some time out today to have a walk just down the road, around North Meadow, Cricklade, which is an ancient Lammas Meadow, a National Nature Reserve, and is home to more than 80% of the nation's population of Snakes Head Fritillary, Fritillaria Meleagris. North Meadow represents a part of England's rural heritage which, once common, in now almost extinct. It is a flood meadow, and although now owned by English Nature it is still largely managed by the ancient Cricklade Court Leat in exactly the way it's been done for hundreds of years.  Most such meadows have been either developed or "improved", by being ploughed up and treated with artificial fertilizers, but North Meadow has the distinction of being "unimproved" and is therefore able to support it's amazing crop of wildflowers.
People come from all over the country, indeed all over the world to see the fritillaries in April, and if you are in the West country at this time of year, it's well worth taking a detour to see them. More information here

10 comments:

  1. absolutely LOVELY
    i have one plant in my front garden

    i would love to see them

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  2. Those are beautiful! I've never seen anything like them.

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  3. Oh, I would love to see this!! It's just lovely!! I would be taking pictures all day!! :-))

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  4. I wish I didn't live across the sea from you. I would love to see that Nature Reserve. I love wild flowers. We have Virgina Blue bells, and many other wildflower growing all through the woods around here.
    Kelly

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  5. They're gorgeous - the park over the road has a patch and inspired me to plant some up in one of my wild patches.

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  6. JG -yes they are lovely aren't they
    Louise - North Meadow is certainly spectacular at this time of year
    Kim - I took loads of pictures but it's difficult to do it justice if you're only an amateur like me!
    SJM - Indeed! thanks for commenting
    LilacCG - I'm sure you'd love it
    tammyk - Hope it does well for you

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  7. I'm so glad, Kathy, that you took the time to visit the meadow - it really looks spectacular. I planted some years ago near a pond in a garden I manage and this year they have finally begun to spread. It will be years before they look like yours!

    In Oxford, there are several protected 'unimproved' fritillary meadows too but I never seem to find time to visit them. I really must!

    Johnson

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  8. Johnson, hope you can find some time to visit them, I'm sure you'd really enjoy it.

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  9. Choclette - It's always lovely to see them isn't it!

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