Download our reserve leaflet here

Minety SN16 9PP
OS map 169 Grid ref: SU008900

  • Not suitable for pushchairs or wheelchairs
  • Dogs on leads are welcome
  • 5.01 hectares

Emmett Hill Meadows reserve map

The local landscape of big hedges and small wildflower meadows is one of the most threatened in Britain. These three hay meadows with countless wildflowers form a Site of Special Scientific Interest because of their long history of traditional farming. In summer, devil’s-bit scabious turns Long Meadow into a haze of purple peppered with betony, saw-wort, sneezewort and heath spotted orchids. Listen for the shivering rustle of yellow rattle seedpods when you brush past them.

Long Meadow has clearly visible ridges and furrows running its length – evidence of an ancient farming system. Look in the damper furrows for ragged robin and creeping Jenny. Pignut Meadow contains an old banked enclosure that was perhaps a cattle pen when the area was open common land. White pignut flowers in May and June. Its flowers feed the larvae of the uncommon chimney-sweeper moth.

In Middle Meadow you can see some old ant hills. ‘Emmett’ is the old name for ant but most ant hills were wiped out by past ploughing. A stream runs alongside Middle Meadow, and there are two ponds where great crested and smooth newts find refuge. Butterflies and moths include the small heath, marsh fritillary, peacock, garden tiger moth and small copper.

We cut Long Meadow for hay in July and then cattle graze it until October. We pollard the hedgerow and ash trees. Pignut Meadow doesn’t grow enough grass to make hay and is just cattle grazed from mid summer onwards.

 Male great crested newt © David Kjaer  Garden tiger moth © Alan Price Pignut © Rob Large Yellow rattle pods © Philip Precey


If driving - take the B4040 Cricklade to Malmesbury Road. Turn into Dog Trap Lane signposted Upper Minety. Follow Dog Trap Lane to the end and turn left at junction signposted Minety Church and Oaksey. Park on nearby verge and walk up well-used track on left, located about 50m from Dog Trap Lane junction. Follow this track past several houses until you reach end of lane, marked by field gate. Pass through gate into field and turn left, following boundary hedgerow. At corner of field, continue forward through gate or over stile onto tree-lined path. Entrance to reserve is on right-hand side after about 100m.

Please be aware that in a rural county postcodes often cover wide areas; some may point you to a reserve entrance, others may direct you to its centre and others may simply direct you to the reserve's vicinity. 

If using bus – bus 52 Swindon to Minety and bus 93 from Malmesbury to Cirencester via Upper Minety. Visit

If cycling – The National Byway/Wiltshire Cycleway runs through Minety. Visit

Nearby reserves Distillery Meadows, Blakehill Farm

What to see locally - Keynes Park (4 miles), Malmesbury Abbey (5 miles), North Meadow National Nature Reserve (6 miles)

 Emmett Hill Meadows location map © WWT
(Photo: Emmett Hill Meadows © Mike Roberts)