Marlborough, SN8 2QN
What3Words: ///uptown.rating.isolating
OS map 157 Grid ref: SU 27296 71469

When to visit

Free and open to visit 24 hours a day.

Know before you go

  • Circular path with boardwalks
  • Dogs on leads are welcome
  • Can be muddy in the winter
  • 1.2 hectares

Download the reserve leaflet

About the nature reserve

Ramsbury Meadow reserve map © WWT

This nature reserve is located on the flood plain of the River Kennet and for hundreds of years provided grazing for sheep. During the 17th and 18th centuries it was part of a series of water-meadows. You can still see traces of the old ditches used to irrigate the land with nutrient-rich river water, to encourage an early growth of grass for grazing. The ditches were fed from the leat (artificial watercourse) which separates the meadow from adjoining gardens.

What can be seen here?

Here you will find wild plants typical of wetland habitats. Greater and lesser pond-sedges produce tufty heads from the end of May. Meadowsweet, wild angelica and hemp agrimony attract butterflies such as the small tortoiseshell. Pink-flowered comfrey was used to heal wounds and broken limbs, hence its old name ‘bone-set’.

Boardwalks, a dipping platform and bridges form part of the circular path through the meadow. It’s best to stay on the path as the ground is very wet and in places poisonous hemlock water dropwort grows. In spring look for the golden-yellow flowers of marsh marigold along the silted up ditch, and the yellow flag iris from May to July. The emperor dragonfly and blue-tailed damselfly breed in the pond and there is a thriving frog population. Sticklebacks swim beneath its surface. On the pretty River Kennet you can watch mute swans, mallards, coots and moorhens.

The site is managed by Ramsbury Parish Council and volunteers who keep the path and ditches clear from vegetation.

How can I get here?

Download directions