Hayton Meadow, Ludlow
*This meadow will be open to the public on specially arranged open days only. Details forthcoming*
Hayton - or as its commonly known "the Paddock" - is believed to have originally been an old market place, which ceased to operate around 1810. In 1848 the tithe Commissioners Ferrier listed the paddock as being arable farmland, but by 1890 the Paddock was a meadow and has remained one ever since.
This tiny meadow, just 0.3 hectares in size, is nonetheless packed with wildlife. The display is perhaps best in early spring when cowslips and green-winged orchids colour the paddock, followed later in the year by betony, common spotted-orchid and knapweed.
Species to spot
Best time to see: June - Sept.
Long-living and slow-growing, this vivid magenta wild flower was used in the past as to protect against sorcery and - according to the Anglo Saxon Herbal - 'frightful nocturnal goblins'. Image © Plantlife/Andrew Gagg.
Best time to see: May
The jester-like motley of its green and purple flowers gives this orchid its scientific name: morio, meaning 'fool'. It can sometimes be confused with the early-purple orchid but does not have spots on its leaves.
Best time to see: April - May
Easy to spot with its yellow cup-shaped flowers nodding at the end of tall stems. The name cowslip allegedly derives from ‘cowslup' - an old term for cowpat - since where the cow 'slupped' this flower was often found.