In this new feature we will follow Nick, Conservation Lead for North Wiltshire, throughout the yearly cycle across our ancient hay meadow sites in North Wiltshire. Visit our blog for monthly updates.

Many years ago, in medieval times, the Braydon Forest around Minety was a deer hunting preserve for the wealthy nobility. Back then, it was a landscape of ancient woodlands and small, intimate hay meadows. In some respects, that landscape still survives today.

Although, across the country, hay meadows have declined drastically since WWII, North Wiltshire is still a stronghold. Small slithers of these relics pock mark the larger, more fertile, modern fields and many of them are in Trust ownership. Echo Lodge Meadows, Avis Meadow, Distillery Meadows, Cloatley Farm Meadows and Emmett Hill Meadows are not as well-known as some of our important chalk grassland sites, but in their own way they are every bit as amazing.

Over the course of the next twelve months, Nick will highlight some of these sites and throw the spotlight on what can be seen there and how we manage them. Follow me back in time, on a journey of discovery to the ancient landscape of North Wiltshire.

Heath Spotted Orchid

Heath Spotted Orchid (Dactylorhiza maculate) at Echo Lodge Meadows. Photo by Ellie Dodson

Coming soon:

  1. Meadow Mosey at Echo Lodge Meadows
  2. Meadow Mosey at Cloatley Meadows
  3. Brush Harvesting at Avis Meadow
  4. Hay Cutting at Ravensroost Meadow
  5. Taking green hay at Stoke Common
  6. Bumble-Bird Strip at Blakehill Farm
  7. Meadow Mosey at Upper Minety Meadows
  8. Aftermath grazing at Warbler Meadow
  9. Winter Wander at Distillery Meadows
  10. Winter Wander at Morningside Farm
  11. Winter Wander at Blakehill Farm
  12. Winter Wander at Emmett Hill
  13. The Last Curlew in North Wiltshire at Blakehill Farm
  14. Meadow Mosey at Upper Waterhay
  15. Meadow Mosey at Clattinger Farm