Netcott’s Meadow, Nailsea
A statement from Plantlife
Netcott’s Meadow near Nailsea is one of the very best meadows in Avon. It is a vibrant damp meadow with a wide variety of wildflowers, including green-winged and southern marsh orchids. In the summer it is ablaze with colour, not just from wild flowers but also from the twelve species of butterfly which frequent the meadow, along with bees, damselflies, dragonflies, birds, amphibians, reptiles and mammals; a vital refuge for wildlife in an area under pressure for new development.
Netcott’s Meadow contains such a wide variety of plant species typical of the area that seed-rich green hay from the meadow has been used to restore nearly 20 acres of new meadows at two sites nearby: Moorend Spout, Nailsea and Great Folly Mead, Stowey. Using seed collected at Netcott’s, local volunteers have also grown and planted out over 1,000 plug plants in the new meadows, helping to transform them into thriving wildflower meadows for the people and wildlife of Avon.
Great progress has been made in recent years, through this project and many other initiatives, to protect and improve many wildflower meadows. Yet they are under constant threat; many meadows, including Netcott’s, have little protection by law and their maintenance depends on the goodwill of the landowner.
The new owners of Netcott’s Meadow have a unique opportunity to play their part in protecting our national heritage for the benefit of future generations. We very much hope they will seize it with both hands.
A statement from Avon Wildlife Trust can be read here
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.
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 - Sept.
A semi-parasitic flower, that feeds off nutrients in nearby grass roots. In doing so it helps restrict the vigorous grasses, allowing more delicate wildflowers to emerge. Its 'rattle' is from tiny seeds in their pods.
Best time to see: June - Sept
A thistle-like plant also known as 'black knapweed', although its flowers are actually bright pink. It is a popular source of nectar for the Red Admiral, Meadow Brown, Peacock, Painted Lady and many other butterflies.