Clattinger Farm, Oaksey
A classic time capsule of a bygone age.
A precious remnant of Britain’s hay meadow, a type of grassland which has now almost completely vanished from our landscapes. Clattinger's richness as a wildlife habitat is a lasting tribute to its previous owners, who farmed the land traditionally and did not use any artificial fertilisers - in fact its the only lowland farm in Britain known to have received absolutely no agricultural chemicals. Today, the meadow is considered the finest remaining example of enclosed lowland grassland in the UK, and is of international importance for its hay meadow wild flowers. It has legal protection as a Site of Special Scientific Interest, and is also part of a Special Area for Conservation. It sits alongside a set of other nature reserves such as Lower Moor Farm, Sandpool and Oaksey Moor Farm.
The name 'Clattinger' is derived from Old English clate meaning burdock and hangar meaning a slope - in essence then, 'the slope where burdock grows'
Clattinger Farm is the donor site for the wildflower meadows at HRH Prince Charles' home, Highgrove House. He has spoken highly of Clattinger Farm, calling it a "magical ancient series of wildflower meadows"
Header image (above) © Ryan Tabor
How to get there
From Malmesbury to Cirencester road (A429), turn at the village of Crudwell, towards Eastcourt. Turn left at Eastcourt for Oaksey. At Oaksey turn right at first min-roundabout and straight on at next one (for Ashton Keynes). 1.5 miles after the railway bridge turn right towards Minety. The reserve entrance (look out for a stile) is marked about 0.5 miles on the right. There is parking on both sides of the road.
Species to spot
Best time to see: April - May
Once this chequered flower filled flooded hay meadows in their thousands but modern agricultural practices - particularly draining land in order to grow crops - has led to a sharp decline. Image © Plantlife/Beth Halski.
Southern marsh orchid
Best time to see: June - July
Also known as the 'leopard marsh orchid', this wild flower is fairly common in mainland Europe but - apart from local areas of southern England - less so over here. Image © Plantlife
Best time to see: May - June
Once common, this butterfly is now one of our most threatened. It feeds on Devil's-bit scabious. Early lepidopterists called it the "greasy fritillary" because of its shiny appearance. Image © Andrew Curtis/CC BY-SA
Best time to see: All year
Seeing signs of otters is easier than seeing the animals themselves. Look for five-toed footprints (about 6-7cm long) and droppings known as 'spraints'. These contain fishbones and smell, like Jasmine tea! Image © Sue Crookes