Fritillary Watch

The Fritillaries are flowering
The fritillaries of North Meadow are now showing themselves and slowly over the last week the purple haze of flowers have started to bloom. Spring has definitely sprung. We now expect visitor numbers to rise and would ask you to please read right to the bottom of the page and familiarise yourself with how you can help protect the meadow. Please keep to the marked paths.

Other things to see and hear at the moment include skylarks flying and calling over the meadow in good numbers and beautiful yellow marsh marigolds growing in the wet drainage channels. Let us know if you see anything exciting or get a good picture via twitter @necotwolds or on the North Meadow National Nature Reserve Facebook page.

If you are coming over the weekend make sure you come down to the Fritillary Tea Rooms in the Thames Hall, Cricklade. There is lots of info about the meadow, fritillaries and of course some great cake to refuel you after/for your visit!

Fact of the month: Only one-third of fritillaries flower each year, the rest are juvenile or dormant. This is one of the main reasons we are keen to keep the paths as narrow as possible. By stepping off the path to take a picture of one fritillary, you could accidently kill another.

Visiting the meadow
As we move into growing, flowering, and nesting season we ask everyone visiting the meadow to be prepared for their visit. The meadow is a very special place, and the difference between enjoyment and damage is small and the impact of visitors takes its toll every year.
The best way to help preserve the meadow is keep to the paths. Please bring appropriate footwear so that you don’t have to walk around puddles, and keep to small, narrow groups. It can be tempting to leave the path to get a closer look at a flower or take a picture, so please bring binoculars and read the photographers’ guide. Fritillaries did grow up to the paths but, due to trampling of the flowering plants they are getting further away from the paths. Keeping to the paths will help save them and allow them to repopulate these areas.
Please keep dogs on short leads and under control. We have ground nesting birds that can be flushed and disturbed by dogs. We have experienced a dramatic increase in dog fouling on the meadow in the last few years. This increases the phosphate levels in the soil can cause serious illness in livestock.

We hope you’ll enjoy your visit to North Meadow. If you have any questions about your visit please contact Natural England Reserve Manager Aidan Fallon, aidan.fallon@naturalengland.org.uk or 07919995036

Group guided walks are available see here

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