Visit the best wildflower meadows in the UK

The Wildlife Trusts has compiled a list of the top 40 wildflower meadows from around the UK, perfect to visit now the weather is getting warmer.

wildflower meadow

Paul Wilkinson, head of A Living Landscape for The Wildlife Trusts, said: ‘Make the most of the UK’s wonderful wildflowers this spring and summer.

‘We also urge people to remember that traditional hay meadows are under threat in the UK. The Wildlife Trusts puts a huge amount of effort into managing these rare habitats, which aren’t only important in terms of recreation, but also provide a vital food source for our rapidly declining bees and for many butterfly species.

‘Through our management work, which includes grazing programmes, scrub clearance and work with farmers on land-management techniques, we hope future generations will be able to enjoy the sight of lush meadows glinting with orchids and cornflowers.’

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Here is the list of the 40 best wildflower meadows-find one to visit near you.

1. New Grove Meadow, Gwent
Gwent Wildlife Trust
Two gently sloping meadows with cowslip and spring sedge in April, purple and green-winged orchids in May, and common-spotted orchids in June. In autumn, there are two Red Data Book fungi-Entoloma bloxamii and Hygrocybe calyptiformis

2. College Lake NR, Buckinghamshire
A former chalk quarry, which now boasts cornfield flowers. Scarce in the wild due to the use of modern fertilisers and pesticides, traditional poppies, corncockles, corn chamomile and cornflowers thrive here


3. The Umbra NR, Derry, Ulster
Ulster Wildlife Trust
A complex of sand dunes (ASSI and SAC) with marsh helleborine and a grass of Parnassus, plus dark green fritillary and grayling butterflies and the day-flying six-spot burnet moth and elephant hawk moth

4. Clattinger Farm NR, Wiltshire
Wiltshire Wildlife Trust
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, meadow saffron and adders-tongue fern

Burnt Orchid.

5. Priestcliffe Lees, Derbyshire
Derbyshire Wildlife Trust
An SSSI reserve on a limestone hillside with views across the Wye Valley in the Peak District. Cowslips and early purple orchids in summer, plus rare yellow mountain pansy and the tiny white flowers of leadwort

6. Foxlease Meadows (Ancells Farm), Hampshire
Hampshire Wildlife Trust
Sympathetically grazed fields, using highland cattle and horses, surrounded by ditch and oak bank boundaries. Species include meadow thistle, petty whin and dyers greenweed

7. Chyverton NR, Cornwall
Cornwall Wildlife Trust
The ancient Cornish hedgerows, meadows and woodland house diverse wildlife, such as the southern marsh orchid

southern marsh orchid

8. Fox Fritillary Meadow, Suffolk
Suffolk Wildlife Trust
The largest of four remaining snake’s head fritillary sites in Suffolk, boasting as many as 300,000 blooms in April-May, as well as cowslip and cuckoo flower. Visits by appointment (01473 890089)

9. Kingcombe Meadows NR, Dorset
Dorset Wildlife Trust
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

devils bit scabious

10. Stockings Meadow, Herefordshire
Herefordshire Wildlife Trust
Neutral soils derived from Old Red Sandstone support early spring cowslips and green-winged orchids, followed by bugle, yellowrattle, knapweed, betony, quaking grass and devil’s-bit scabious, plus day-flying moths such as the six-spot burnet

11. Carr House Meadows, Sheffield
Sheffield Wildlife Trust
Meadows bursting with bluebells, yellow rattle, red and white clover, scabious and orchids, as well as the rare pink marsh-loving ragged robin

carr House MeadowsKeith Parkin

12. Cricklepit Mill, Devon
Devon Wildlife Trust
An unusual urban meadow in the centre of Exeter, with meadow and arable plants such as cornflowers, poppies, blue corn cockles and oxeye daisies, as well as previously dormant species like black medick, cat’s-ear, corn chamomile, dove’s-foot crane’s-bill, ivy-leaved toadflax, Oxford ragwort and scarlet pimpernel

13. Feystown NR, Ulster
Ulster Wildlife Trust
A small meadow in the Glens of Antrimand, featuring interesting plants such as the wood cranesbill, yellow rattle and common spotted orchids, as well as the painted lady butterfly

painted lady butterfly

14. Chimney Meadows NR, Oxfordshire
A 250-acre meadow restoration project, where native species have now colonised, such as black knapweed and yellow rattle. The floodplain attracts wading birds, such as curlew and lapwing

15. Iffley Meadows NR, Oxfordshire
Ancient Thames-side meadows famous for their display of snake’s-head fritillaries, once picked for sale in Covent Garden. There are about 38,000 plants there today, with careful management by BBOWT

snakes head fritillary

16. Blakehill Farm, Wiltshire
Wiltshire Wildlife Trust
A former military base that’s now one of the largest grassland restoration projects in the UK. Plants include tongue fern, spiny rest harrow, great burnet and dyer’s greenweed

17. Hartington Meadows, Derbyshire
Derbyshire Wildlife Trust
The grassland reserve features flowers such as hay rattle, meadow vetchling and dropwort. The rough grassland provides breeding sites for cliff-nesting birds such as kestrels and jackdaws

Hartington meadows.Julia Gow/Derbyshire Wildlife Trust

18. Rose End Meadows, Derbyshire
Derbyshire Wildlife Trust
The 11 fields show how Derbyshire’s limestone farmland would have looked a century ago. In summer, the meadows are a mixture of buttercups, cowslips, cow parsley, bugle and wood anemones. There are also bluebells in the woodland

19. Cae Bryntywarch, Brecknock
Brecknock Wildlife Trust
The rough, dramp grassland, known as Rhos pasture, is home to colourful plants-common spotted and heath spotted orchids, bog asphodel, dyer’s green weed and devil’s-bit scabious

20. Trewalkin Meadow, Brecknock
Brecknock Wildlife Trust
A damp meadow at the foot of the Black Mountains, with interest throughout the year: cuckoo flower in spring, common spotted and early purple orchids, globeflower, ragged robin and great burnet in summer; and devil’s-bit scabious in early autumn

trewalkin meadowPhil Sutton

21. Vicarage Meadows, Brecknock
Brecknock Wildlife Trust
Rich meadow and wet pasture in the Irfon Valley, managed by hay cropping and grazing by Exmoor ponies. Flowers include orchids, betony, great burnet, dyer’s green weed, bog asphodel and devil’s-bit scabious

22. Eades Meadow, Worcestershire
Worcestershire Wildlife Trust
Part of the 31-acre National Nature Reserve, famous for its green winged orchids and meadow saffron

23. The Knapp and Paper Mill NR, Worcestershire
Worcestershire Wildlife Trust
27 hectares of meadows, wood and orchids featuring knapweed, yellow rattle, oxeye daisy and green-winged and spotted orchids. Butterflies include common and holly blue, brimstone, purple hairstreak, white admiral and brown argus

Yellow Rattle

24. Fivehead Arable Fields, Somerset
Somerset Wildlife Trust
Home to nationally scarce wildflowers, such as broad-leaved spurge, spreading hedge-parsley and slender tare, as well as cornflowers such as black medick, scarlet pimpernel, field pansy and red bartsia

25. Chettisham Meadow, Cambridgeshire
Historic remnant of ridge and furrow grassland, with fine grasses such as sweet vernal-grass, red fescue, quaking grass and yellow oat-grass, as well as bee and common spotted orchids, ox-eye daisy, adder’s tongue fern and pepper saxifrage. Butteflies include orange-tip, holly blue, marble white and small copper

Holly Blue butterfly

26. The Sturts NR, Herefordshire
Herefordshire Wildlife Trust
40 hectares within the River Wye floodplain, plus a small cider orchard. The largest area of meadow foxtail and burnet grassland in the county, plus knapweed, devil’s bit scabious, dyer’s green wood and southern marsh orchid, and more than 25 species of wax cap fungi

27. The Parks, Herefordshire
Herefordshire Wildlife Trust
Unimproved neutral grassland and ancient boundary hedgerows, supporting flowers such as pignut, common and heath spotted orchid, cuckoo flower, common bird’s-foot trefoil and meadow sweet, and grasses such as meadow foxtail and common bent, as well as otters, dippers and kingfishers in the Dulas Brook


28. Merry’s Meadow, Rutland
Leicestershire and Rutland Wildlife Trust
One of the most diverse sites in the county, and an SSSI. Cowslip, quaking grass, green winged orchid and adders-tongue grow on the field ridges, and cuckoo flower in the damper furrows, plus common, heath spotted and frog orchid

29. Herbert’s Meadow at Ulverscroft NR, Leicestershire
Leicestershire and Rutland Wildlife Trust
A diverse meadow thanks to its complex soil conditions, part of the Ulverscrot Nature Reserve and SSSI

30. Kilnmire Farm, Ravenstonedale, Cumbria
Cumbria Wildlife Trust
Upland hay meadow backing onto the open fell. Marsh marigold, yellow rattle, eye bright and great burnet

great burnet.

31. Pentwyn Farm, Wye Valley
Gwent Wildlife Trust
In an AONB above the Wye Valley, the fields on the reserve are full of cowslips, early purple orchids, green-winged orchids, twayblade, knapweed, hay rattle and eyebright

32. Hannah’s Meadow, Balderhead, Durham
Durham Wildlife Trust
An SSSI dominated by meadow foxtail, sweet vernal grass and crested dogs tail, plus wild flowers including ragged robin, wood crane’s bill, marsh marigold and yellow rattle

Ragged Robin

33. Freeman’s Pasture, Lancashire
Lancashire Wildlife Trust
More than 120 plant species have been recorded at this SSSI, which has devil’s-bit scabious, dyer’s green weed and adder’s-tongue fern

34. Hunsdon Mead, Roydon, Hertfordshire
Herts & Middlesex Wildlife Trust
Traditional management of this flood meadow has encouraged a range of plants, including cowslips, marsh marigolds, yellow rattle, ragged robin, lady’s smock, meadow sweet and bugle, plus butterflies and moths

35. Blagrove Common, Sandon, Hertfordshire
Hert & Middlesex Wildlife Trust
The common is bisected by a stream and varies from marshy grassland to dry. Early marsh, southern marsh and common spotted orchids, tail grasses, common cat’s ear and sorrel, plus muddy areas that are micro-habitats for plants and invertebrates

Common Cat's Ear

36. Alpine Meadow, Berkhamstead, Hertfordshire
Herts & Middlesex Wildlife Trust in partnership with the site owner, the National Trust
A small but rich SSSI, featuring primroses, mouse-ear hawkweed, fairy flax, adder’s tongue fern and common spotted orchids, plus marbled white butterflies, green woodpeckers, goldcrests and common lizards

37. Little Scrubbs Meadow, Lincolnshire
Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust
A rural landscape dominated by small-leaved lime and meadows, with plants such as great burnet, saw-wort and devil’s-bit scabious, plus hairstreak and white admiral butterflies

small leaved lime tree

38. Frogmore Meadow, Chenies, Hertfordshire
Herts & Middlesex Wildlife Trust
Marshy meadow beside the River Chess, supporting marsh marigold, greater bird’s foot trefoil, ragged robin and raremarsh valerian in the wetter area and betony, tormentil and heath bedstraw in the drier area, plus willow herb, reed sweet grass and reed canary grass and water voles by the river

39. Rye Meads, Hoddesdon, Hertfordshire
Rye Meads is jointly managed by the Herts & Middlesex Wildlife Trust and the RSPB
Seasonal flooding and grazing by water buffalos has created various habitats for marsh dock, marsh ragwort, meadow sweet, meadow rue and nesting birds such as redshank, pawing and little ringed plover and water voles

water vole

40. Sheepleas, West Horsley, Surrey
Surrey Wildlife Trust
Sheapleas lies on the North Downs within the Surrey Hills AONB. An SSSI with a diverse range, including majoram, eyebright, milkwort, wild thyme and orchids, plus more than 30 species of butterflies, including common blue, green hairstreak, silver-washed fritillary and ringlets

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