12 top wildflower meadows to visit

Wildflower meadows are one of the British countryside’s most glorious sights, filled with rare plant and flower species and providing a much needed haven for wildlife.Wherever you are in England you’re probably closer than you think to a meadow.

Visit between Spring and late Summer to enjoy these colourful landscapes at their best.

Clattinger Farm Nature Reserve, Wiltshire
Wiltshire Wildlife Trust

Located outside Somerford Keynes, near Malmesbury

The lowland hay meadow (SAC and SSSI) was opened by Prince Charles in 1997. Hay is cut in July, after the flowers have seeded, encouraging rare species such as the downy-fruited sedge, burnt orchid and adders-tongue fern.

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Rose End Meadows, Derbyshire
Derbyshire Wildlife Trust

Above Cromford Village, near Matlock

The 11 fields show how Derbyshire’s limestone farmland would have looked a century ago. There are bluebells in spring and in summer the meadows are a mixture of buttercups, cowslips, cow parsley, bugle and wood anemones.

Marden Meadow, Kent
Kent Wildlife Trust

Situated between Marden and Staplehurst

One of the last unimproved hay meadows in Kent, this coronation meadow features green winged orchids and bird’s foot trefoil while it’s large pond is home to nesting reed warblers and geese.

Runnymede, Berkshire
Old Windsor

famous spot where many people say the Magna Carta was sealed, these ancient riverside
meadows now play host to an attractive array of wildflowers.

Kingcombe Meadows Nature Reserve, Dorset
Dorset Wildlife Trust

One mile outside the village of Kingcombe

A patchwork of fields with rarities such as lady’s mantle, corky-fruited water dropwort, pepper saxifrage, devil’s-bit scabious and knapweed, plus skipper and fritillary butterflies.

Chimney Meadows Nature Reserve, Oxfordshire
Berks, Bucks and Oxon Wildlife Trust

At Bampton, 9 miles west of Abingdon

A 250-acre meadow restoration project now colonized by native species such as black knapweed and yellow rattle. The floodplain draws wading birds such as curlew and lapwing.

Rod Wood, Staffordshire
Staffordshire Wildlife Trust

At Cheddleton

Part of a diverse grassland, woodland and scrub habitat, the three meadows attract speckled wood, meadow brown and green hairstreak butterflies and offer outstanding views of the Peak District.

Highgrove Estate, Gloucestershire
Booking is required for Garden Tours

Established by Prince Charles over thirty years ago,
the wildflower meadow at Highgrove is truly spectacular with around 120
different species of Gloucestershire flora now thriving in the meadow.

The Knapp and Paper Mill Reserve, Worcestershire
Worcestershire Wildlife Trust

At Bridges Stone near Alfrick

27 hectares of meadows, wood and orchids featuring knapweed, yellow rattle, oxeye daisy and spotted orchids. Butterflies include common and holly blue, brimstone, purple hairstreak, white admiral and brown argus.

Red Hill, Lincolnshire
Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust

Near Glouceby

The plateau grassland has a rich assembly of chalk plants including localised species such as felwort, kidney vetch and bee orchids. There is also an abundance of six-spotted burnet moths and an exceptionally high spider population.

Pensthorpe Wildlife and Gardens, Norfolk
Reserve opens 10am-5pm daily
One mile outside Fakenham

A traditionally managed meadow on the floodplain of the River Wesum, knapweed and cuckooflower can be spotted in early summer with marsh thistles and meadowsweet in later months. In autumn the meadow is grazed by rare breed Norfolk long horn sheep.

Upper Wharfedale, Yorkshire
Near Buckden

These herb rich meadows are set in an area of classic Yorkshire countryside and in summer contain bird’s eye primrose, blue moorgrass, meadowsweet and carnivorous common butterwort. A six-mile wildlife meadow walk is available and guided tours take place throughout the year.