Upwood Meadows, Upwood
Ancient grazing meadows with wildflowers galore.
Designated a National Nature Reserve for its floral diversity, Upwood is awash with life. The greatest display is in Bentley meadow where medieval ridge and furrow and the many ant hills provide differing micro habitats for plants and invertebrates. Here plants including cowslip, green-winged orchid and dyer's greenweed provide summer long colour and nectar sources for bees and butterflies (see 'Species to spot' below). Dew ponds dug in each field originally for watering livestock, are now breeding grounds for Great Crested Newts, dragonflies and damselflies.
Species to spot
Best time to see: April - May
Easy to spot with its yellow cup-shaped flowers nodding at the end of tall stems. The name cowslip allegedly derives from ‘cowslup' - an old term for cowpat - since where the cow 'slupped' this flower was often found.
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.