Marden Meadow, Staplehurst
One of the few remaining unimproved neutral meadows in Kent
This idyllic meadow serves to remind visitors of just how much of this classic English landscape has been lost. Consisting of three fields it boasts one of the best remaining examples of unimproved hay meadows in Kent. Green-winged orchids are abundant in May and later in the year many daisies, vetches and wild grasses are common. Two ponds feature here, the smaller of the two often having an abundant show of water violet. The larger pond has stands of bulrush and vegetation that provides a nesting habitat for reed warblers, ducks and geese.
"Each spring, Marden dons its coat of many colours and dazzles with orchids living in harmony with meadow grasses, herbs and ferns. The green-winged orchid, which has decreased by 50% in the UK over the last 50 years, still thrives here. If ever there was a place to evoke those childhood memories - this is it!"
- Peter Payne, Honorary Warden of Marden Meadow and Vice Chairman of Kent Wildlife Trust
Header image © C Moncrieff
Species to spot
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.