Swiss Cottage Meadow, Osborne House, East Cowes

Coronation Meadow


"It is impossible to imagine
a prettier spot"

- Queen Victoria after visiting the grounds of Osborne House
 

Located in the grounds of Queen Victoria's royal residence, this is a small protected example of a typical north Wight dry neutral meadow. It is named after the nearby Swiss Cottage - a two storey detached dwelling that was built within the grounds of Osborne House at Prince Albert's instruction. He used it to teach the royal children gardening, cooking and basic economics. A new interactive exhibition telling the story of this Victorian royal childhood opens at the Swiss Cottage on 1st April 2014.

"The Swiss Cottage meadow is impressive in spring when lots of primroses are in bloom but for me, late May when the green winged orchids flower, is my favourite time of year" 

- Toby Beasley, English Heritage's Head Gardener at Osborne

How to get there

1 mile SE of East Cowes off the A3021 (meadow accessible via Osborne House).

Species to spot



  • Common spotted-orchid

    Best time to see: June - July

    Our most common orchid enlivens many places, particularly chalk and limestone downs. Its flowers can vary from deep to light pink and the leaves are marked with spots. 

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  • Dyer’s greenweed

    Best time to see: June - August

    A low-lying member of the pea family. As its name suggests, this flower has been used to make yellow dye since ancent times and combined with woad produces a superb green hue.

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  • Green-winged orchid

    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.

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  • Marbled white butterfly

    Best time to see: June - Aug.

    A distinctive medium-sized white butterfly, with black-chequered markings, often be found feeding on purple flowers such as common knapweed. The caterpillars feed on grasses. Image © Adam Hincks/CC BY_SA

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  • Devil’s-bit scabious

    Best time to see: June - Sept.

    A pink pin-cushion-like flower which our ancestors believed cured scabies (hence "scabious"). It has short, stubby roots which - according to legend - were bitten off by the Devil to prevent its healing powers.

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Managed by

English Heritage