Seaton Meadows, Corby
Seaton Meadows lie on a flat area of land beneath the Welland Viaduct - the longest brick viaduct on Britain - and are some of the last surviving remnants of unimproved flood meadow in Rutland. As the name suggests, "flood meadows" are prone to flooding in winter which makes them the perfect home for wild flowers such as great burnet, meadowsweet and greater bird’s-foot-trefoil (see 'Species to spot' below). Not all the meadow floods, however: some areas are on higher ground and these areas support a different suite of species altogether, lady’s bedstraw and oxeye daisy. If you visit, see if you can spot the difference.
The meadows are cut for hay in late summer, and the regrowth is then grazed by cattle or sheep. Livestock are removed before the winter months to prevent poaching damage to the sward. Seaton Meadows have also been designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), in recognition of its importance for wildlife.
How to get there
From Peterborough take the A47 to Morcott and turn left on the B672 towards Caldecott. About 2 miles along this road, park under the viaduct and the entrance to Seaton is through a gate on the left.
The nearest train station is Oakham, which is approximately 10 miles from the reserve.
To avoid damaging the hay crop please keep to the edge of the fields.
Species to spot
Best time to see: April - Aug.
The bulbous, blood-red heads of this member of the rose family often indicate a floodplain meadow. The name burnet comes from the Old French for 'dark brown' - the same source as 'brunette'.
Best time to see: June - Sept.
This frothy wild flower has a scent not unlike marzipan. Its sap contains the chemical responsible for aspirin and was in fact used as a medicine in Medieval times. Image © Plantlife/Andrew Gagg
Best time to see: June - Aug.
Large and daisy-like, the oxeye tends to bloom around midsummer and in fact is called the Sunnwendbleaml - or 'solstice flower' - in Austria. Before the 16th century it was known as the 'Moon Daisy' or 'Dog Daisy'.
Best time to see: All year
Male skylarks can be spotted rising almost vertically from the ground, hovering and singing from a great height before parachuting back down to earth. Despite their aerial activities, skylarks nest on the ground, laying three to four eggs. Image (c) Stefan Johansson
"I am the manager of the site, so am biased, but think it is a wonderful site for its intricate mix of flush, floodplain and dry grassland communities, its historic ridge and furrow and the wonderful backdrop of the Welland Viaduct which bisects the site – the longest brick viaduct in Britain. It is the last surviving species-rich meadow in the Welland Valley, so of great importance and cultural significance for this reason. It will also be a critical reference and resource if restoration projects are attempted in the area."
- Joe Costley, Plantlife