Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Wiltshire Floods - Cricklade North Meadow

This afternoon, I drove to Cricklade North Meadow in Wiltshire - a favourite place for me in recent times to see wildlife and landscape. Since discovering this lovely place when our textile group took the meadow as a focus for work, I've visited many times, especially in spring for the fritillaries, in autumn and once in winter when the meadow was under a foot of snow. It's always a delight.

This time following the recent torrential rain, the flooding was spectacular.  The River Thames had burst its banks covering the fields in the flood plain and threatening farms and low-lying houses.

I took lots of photos in the late afternoon light. The colour palette was subtle and almost monochrome.

I love this one, with its contrasting areas of reflection and wind-ruffled surface and the willow trees silhouetted against the light sky, 


and especially this one with the stripe of thousands of brown dock seed heads in the distance and bare branches and rose hips in the foreground. 

This reserve is a Special Area of Conservation, administered by Natural England.  It's one of the finest examples of a lowland hay meadow in Europe - there used to be so many more. These sites are now so precious.

The meadow supports Britain's largest population of snake's head fritillary. Fortunately, this lovely flower thrives in meadows with winter flooding. Around half a million of the dark pink flowers can be found here each year in April and I am sure that next spring will be all the better for this flood. I can't wait....

Details of Cricklade North Meadow can be found at http://www.naturalengland.org.uk/ourwork/conservation/designations/nnr/1006112.aspx.



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