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

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