Fancott Meadows, Toddington

Coronation Meadow


"Set within a ring of tall trees, giving this site a secluded and old fashioned feel."

- Oliver Burke, The Wildlife Trust for Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire & Northamptonshire
 

Teeming with wildlife, the meadow is home to an extraordinary range of flowers. Cowslips and adder's tongue fern emerge in the spring, followed by ragged-robin and great burnet. Even the grasses of the old pasture are special with quaking-grass and sweet vernal grass indicating its traditional nature. Before the Trust acquired the site in 2007/08 it had been managed for many years through slightly damaging forms of horse grazing. Nowadays it is grazed by a distinctive mix of Redpoll cattle and Hebridean sheep, which are more sympathetic to the needs of the meadow and its wildlife.

Recipient Meadows

How to get there

Park in Chalton village and follow footpath to the reserve.

Species to spot



  • Great burnet

    Best time to see: April - Aug.

    The bulbous, blood-red heads of this member of the rose family often indicate a floodplain meadow. The name burnet comes from the Old French for 'dark brown' - the same source as 'brunette'. 

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  • Adder’s-tongue fern

    When to see: June - August

    Its bright green, serpentine spike is a distinctive sight and likely the "adder's tongue" in question. A good indicator of ancient meadows. Image © Andrew Gagg/Plantlife.

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  • Common spotted-orchid

    Best time to see: June - July

    Our most common orchid enlivens many places, particularly chalk and limestone downs. Its flowers can vary from deep to light pink and the leaves are marked with spots. 

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  • Hebridean sheep

    A small breed which often grows two pairs of horns. Their wool is coarse and black, fading to brown in sunlight and grey with age. Able to thrive in rough grazing conditions, they are good choice for controlling scrub. Image © Adam Somerville/CC BY-SA

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  • Ragged-robin

    Best time to see: May - June

    With its air of charming dishevellment, this rakish wildflower brightens up damp and poorly drained meadows. It blooms when the cuckoo starts to call. Image © Plantlife/Chris Harris.

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