Owston Meadows, Nr Doncaster
The meadow provides both nationally significant rare plants in small numbers and a mosaic of diverse other rare flowers, the likes of which are rarely witnessed in South Yorkshire
- Ian Jelley, Yorkshire Wildlife Trust
Surrounded in a landscape of intensive agriculture, Owston Meadows SSSI Nature Reserve survives as a relic from the past. These neutral hay meadows are home to plant species such as Snake's Head, Common Twayblade and Pepper Saxifrage whilst in the Autumn months the site is grazed with Hebredian sheep. Many species of bird can be seen here including Yellowhammer, grass snakes have been seen on site along with several species of butterfly. Due to the rarity of some of the plants found on site, access is via organised events only.
Image by Nabil Abbas
Species to spot
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.
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