I’ve just discovered a wonderful private nature reserve almost on my doorstep – I only managed to visit on the last open day but am looking forward to next year already.
England has lost over 95% of its traditional hay meadows since the war, so sights like these are increasingly uncommon. Rob and Chantal Powell have reseeded two large meadows near Wootton Fitzpaine with a local wildflower mix, and the results are spectacular, even this late in the season.
The meadows are criss-crossed by narrow mown paths, up which one can walk, sending up clouds of butterflies – mostly meadow browns and gatekeepers. I visited in the evening, when the low sun shone though shimmering drifts of pink and fawn grasses (too many to mention), studded with flowers of oxeye daisies, greater and lesser knapweed, wild carrot, and the occasional field buttercup, meadow vetchling, all-heal and hawkweed. In the sunny patches, gnats danced merrily up and down. I was happy!
Find out more here: Hogchester Open Meadows