Cowslips, Clattinger Farm

By Emma Kirkup

Clattinger Farm forms part of the Lower Moor Farm complex of nature reserves owned and managed by the Wiltshire Wildlife Trust

I joined the Trust for one of their guided walks, highlighting the Snakeshead Fritillaries which dominate some of the meadows here in April. Many people flock to nearby Cricklade to see these delicate flowers but Clattinger Farm is another fine example of wildflower meadows.

What makes this area particularly special is the way it has been farmed traditionally over the years without the use of artificial fertilisers.
 
Neil Pullen, the Trust’s Reserves Manager explained to us that this lack of artificial fertiliser has helped to maintain the meadow and the wildflower population and showed us that the meadows didn’t in fact have much grass on them; the majority of them were made up of herbs. 

Cowslip

The first meadow we entered was a mass of yellow, with cowslips literally carpeting the landscape in front of me. From a distance you could easily think it was just dandelions in the field! We also spotted lady’s smock (also known as cuckoo flower as it coincides with the arrival of the Cuckoo).

Cuckoo flower

Neil then led the way into some more of the meadows where we could see the fritillaries. To be honest, they were a bit past their best on my visit however it was still lovely to see them and there were some that were still looking fresh! When I last visited the site in 2016 I’d failed to spot any so it was a delight to finally see some! I also hadn’t realised until this tour that they aren’t traditionally meadow flowers and also that their flowers are the shape they are to encourage the bumble bees to head into them to pollinate them.

Lower Moor Farm

Neil explained to us that the meadows change colours through the season, from the yellow when the cowslips dominate; through to purple when the fritillaries are out and then to a deeper purple when the green veined orchids (also known as winged orchids) emerge. We were lucky enough to spot some of these orchids as well which was a delight to see.

Green Veined Orchid 
He also told us about the management of the meadow, when they cut the hay and what they do with it and the grazing of cattle on it later in the summer. We had plenty of opportunities to ask questions and Neil was very knowledgeable on the management of the reserves and also gave some good tips to people looking for great nature spots he knows of in their areas. 

There are pathways throughout the reserve and you certainly get the opportunity to get close to the nature however the Trust do ask that you don’t stray off the path so as to best preserve the flowers. 

Snakeshead Frittilary


There are regular events held at the Lower Moor Farm complex including walks such as the one I went on, birdwatching and family-friendly activities so if you are into nature or conservation then I’d definitely recommend keeping an eye out for upcoming events here. You could easily combine a visit here with a stay in nearby Wiltshire towns of Cricklade or Malmesbury and explore more of the nearby Cotswold Water Park

Related

Lower Moor - Wiltshire Wildlife Trust
Country Park/Nature Reserve
Lower Moor Farm

Owned by Wiltshire Wildlife Trust, the Lower Moor Farm complex is a landscape of fascinating contrasts, a mosaic of wetlands linked together by boardwalks, woodland and meadows. The meadows here have some of the finest displays of flowers in the UK.

Wiltshire Wildlife Trust
Country Park/Nature Reserve
Photo credits- Owain Shaw

Wiltshire Wildlife Trust, the largest conservation charity in Wiltshire, is headquartered in the market town of Devizes. The Trust looks after 37 nature reserves and has 18,000 members across Wiltshire and Swindon.

0 Comments

Comments

Nobody has commented on this post yet, why not send us your thoughts and be the first?

Leave a Reply