Fleecefaulds Meadow, Cupar
A species-rich grassland with a stunning array of wild flowers, including pepper saxifrage and globeflower at its last known site in the county. The meadows are also home to more unusual ancient plants including adder’s tongue fern, moonwort and the rare shady horsetail. Many woodland-edge bird species, among them warblers and finches, nest in the scrub or on the ground and many butterflies are to be found, including tortoiseshells, common blues, red admirals and painted ladies. The whole hillside was once part of a coral reef and the limestone formed from its deposits were worked in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries.
The early history of Fleecefaulds has yet to be fully researched, but the very name suggests that it was originally a kind of sheepwalk with appropriate farming systems associated with it. More recently it was part of the Teasses estate and was farmed by Mark Black, who with his brother Timothy is one of the owners of Teasses. In 1992 some peripheral parts of the estate were sold, and the small farm of Fleecefaulds was split: what is now the Coronation Meadow was bought by Commander Frank Spragge. In 1999 he gifted Fleecefaulds Meadow to the Scottish Wildlife Trust.
"Fleecefaulds Meadow Scottish Wildlife Reserve, near Ceres in Fife, is a beautiful site to visit and is well worth the walk from the car park. Fleecefaulds Meadow is grazed by the Scottish Wildlife Trust's very own conservation flock of sheep and herd of rare breed Shetland cattle. The Scottish Wildlife Trust's grazing programme has been running for ten years and has reversed the botanical decline of reserves such as Fleecefaulds Meadow and helped them become the beautiful and colourful grasslands you can visit today"
- Rory Sandison, The Scottish Wildlife Trust Reserve Manager for East Central Scotland
How to get there
From Cupar, travel south along the A914 for approximately half a mile before turning left onto Ceres Road. Follow this road for 2 miles and then turn left onto Cupar Road. Continue straight ahead onto Main Street (0.3 miles) before turning right onto St Andrews Road (B939). Continue on this road for 0.1 miles and then left onto South Croftdyke, following this for 0.1 miles before bearing right. A further 2 miles along this road brings you to the car park. Go through the field gate. A small path leads towards the north compartment of the meadow, and a gate allows access into the southern section.
Species to spot
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
Often seen bounding across fields using their powerful hind legs to propel them forwards in a zigzag pattern. In early spring, Brown Hares are at their most visible as the breeding season encourages fighting or 'boxing'. Image © Damian Waters/drumimages.co.uk
Developed in the harsh environment of their native islands to fulfill the crofter’s needs. As that way of life declined, however, so too did the breed. Numbers have increased since and the Shetland is becoming a popular choice for conservation grazing. Image © Chris Downer/CC BY-SA