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Warminster BA12 9LH
OS map 143 Grid ref: ST880443
  • Suitable for pushchairs and wheelchairs
  • Dogs on leads are welcome
  • 20.49 hectares


Smallbrook Meadows © WWT

This is a mosaic of six small water meadows, wet woodland, marsh, ponds, chalk rivers, hedgerows and ditches. Wetlands are rare in Wiltshire so this has great wildlife value, providing many different habitats. It lies between the rivers Were and Wylye and locals enjoy walking here as it is flat and easy to reach. It is divided into two areas with a car park between them. You can still see the drainage ditches left behind from when, as water meadows, they were deliberately flooded with warm, nutrient-rich water in late winter to encourage an early growth of grass for grazing.

From late spring the white and pink cuckooflowers bloom, followed by the deeper pink of ragged robin and water avens. Summer brings the bright yellows of marsh marigold and yellow iris. Also the pink-purple flower spikes of the southern marsh-orchid. If visiting in late summer, see if you can smell the tangy aroma of water mint and look for the metallic-green leaf beetles that rely on it for food. Dragonflies and damselflies will be on the wing – you may see a banded demoiselle. Listen for the ‘plop’ of a water vole diving into the water. This is the UK’s most endangered mammal but they do use this reserve.

Water rails are regular visitors and occasionally kingfishers fly past in a streak of turquoise. Today we graze the meadows with belted Galloway cattle to protect and improve the mixture of habitats for wildlife.

Kingfisher © Darin Smith Water vole © Darin Smith Marsh marigold © Darin Smith Banded Demoiselle © Steve Covey

Directions

If driving - On the southern edge of Warminster, it can be reached by walking through the boating park from Weymouth Street, or from the car park in Smallbrook   Road.

If using bus - Regular services to Warminster town centre. Visit http://www.wiltshire.gov.uk/parkingtransportandstreets

If cycling - Visit www.sustrans.org.uk

Other reserves nearbyDunscombe Bottom

What to see locally - a'Beckett's Vineyard (10 miles) Philipp's House (11 miles), Parsonage Down National Nature Reserve (11 miles), Prescombe Down National Nature Reserve (13 miles).


Smallbrook meadows location map © WWT

(Photo: Pond Dipping Platform © Owain Shaw)