Chancellors Farm, Priddy Nr Wells
"An unspoilt historic landscape, still turning up new species after 20 years”
– Kate Lawrence, Somerset Wildlife Trust
*The Somerset Wildlife Trust arrange regular visits to this meadow. Please contact them for details *
This unspoilt, historic landscape remains an active working farm. The meadows are an unusual mixture of lime-rich, neutral and acidic areas which consequently support a wide range of species. These include less common plants such as fragrant orchid and meadow saffron, as well as more familiar flowers such as bluebell, harebell, betony, hay rattle, greater and lesser knapweed and devil’s-bit scabious. Both common spotted-orchid and heath spotted-orchid grow in abundance and often sport hybrids. Even after 20 years, Kate Lawrence, the site manager, is still discovering new species.
The meadows are cut for hay in summer which is used to feed livestock over winter. These include a herd of Ruby Red Devon cattle.
Header image (above) © Steve Bond
Species to spot
Best time to see: June - July
Usually pink but can vary from purple to white. The fragrant orchid lives up to its name by producing a sweet, orangey smell that is particularly strong in the evening. Image © Philip Precey
Best time to see: June - Sept.
A pink pin-cushion-like flower which our ancestors believed cured scabies (hence "scabious"). It has short, stubby roots which - according to legend - were bitten off by the Devil to prevent its healing powers.
Best time to see: All year.
Its silent flight and piercing screech have earnt it names like 'ghost owl' and 'death owl'. Able to hunt both night and day its heart-shaped face directs high-frequency sounds, helping it to find its prey. Image © Les Binns.
Best time to see: April - June
With delicate, branched stems, and white umbels of small flowers. Shakespeare refers to pignut in The Tempest when Caliban says 'I pr’ythee, let me bring thee where crabs grow; And I with my long nails will dig thee pig-nuts; Show thee a jay’s nest, ....'
Image by Cath Shellswell, Plantlife