Fritillary Watch - Saturday 18th April 2015
Snakes Head Fritillary (Fritillaria meleagris) © John Barratt
When will the Fritillaries be in Flower?
North Meadow Fritillary flowers are looking wonderful. The annual spectacle of delicate purple and white chequered petals of the Snake's head Fritillaries is well worth the journey to see. In the last few days several swallows have been seen over the River Thames which runs along the western side of the meadow. The weather is set to stay sunny for the next week, ground conditions are good. Make sure you visit the Fritillary Tea Rooms at weekends were you will find a wealth of information about North Meadow National Nature Reserve and the Fritillaries.
There are plenty of spaces left on the guided walks, if you would like to join one of these walks please call the Reserve Manager on 07795316191
If you have binoculars, bring them with you, not only to see the fritillary plants across the meadow, but there are a great variety of birds in the perimeter hedges, such as reed buntings, tree creeper, chiff chaff, chaffinch, long tailed tits, grey wagtail, as well as sky larks overhead. The first Brimstone butterflies have been recorded as well queen buff tail and early bumble bees looking for a new nest site.
Caltha paulustris or King cups or Marsh marigold as they are known are also coming into flower, you can see them in the hedgerow ditches.
Where will I be allowed to walk on North Meadow?
To continue to conserve these nationally scarce wild flowers we ask that you please to stay on the marked paths.
Currently ground conditions are good, but the paths are still a little uneven; stout shoes are advised for your visit.
Please help Natural England, Local Farmers and Cricklade Manorial Court, who all work in partnership, to conserve this important ancient hay meadow and it’s wildlife by keeping to the marked paths.
Can I bring my dog?
Yes, but please note that dogs must be kept on a lead March to July. If you visit the meadow with your dog please keep it on a lead during March to July (see advice for dog walkers). Skylarks and Reed Buntings both declining protected species will now be looking for nesting sites on the ground in the grass and will be disturbed from their nests by dogs which are not on a lead.
Why is North Meadow protected?
North meadow has a great variety of wildflowers and is of international importance as one of the finest examples of lowland hay meadow in Europe. It is protected as a Special Area of Conservation (SAC) and a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) as well as being a National Nature Reserve. (Scientific research)
Snakes Head Fritillary (Fritillaria meleagris)
Fritillaria meleagris the snake’s head fritillary grows from a small bulb which lies 5 to 8 cm below the surface of the soil; it rarely naturalises but reproduces by seed which is shed in June. The plants can live for up to 25 years and will reach flowering maturity around 4 to 5 years after germination.
For further information please contact Reserve Manager Anita Barratt
Tel 07795316191 email firstname.lastname@example.org