There are large numbers of fritillaries and a few have started to flower. They are still very difficult to see as the picture above taken on Friday 29th March shows. Only a about 20% of the fritillary plants in the meadow flower each year.
The younger plants stay in a vegetative state for several years, even the older plants only flower if the environmental conditions are favourable. The Floodplain Meadows Partnership have produced a leaflet describing the life cycle of the fritillaries . The vegetative plants can easily be mistaken for grass as the adjacent picture shows. They are very easily trampled and damaged at this stage.
The skylarks which nest on the ground among the fritillaries can now be heard singing over the meadow. They start nesting from mid April and the breeding season continues until the end of June.
The meadow is still quite muddy in places.
Please stay on the marked paths and keep your dog on a short lead. Dogs will damage the fritillaries if they leave the marked paths.
If you visit at the peak flowering time, the Cricklade Bloomers Tea Room will be open at the Thames Hall by Cricklade Town bridge between 11am and 4pm on Sat/Sun 16/17th April and Sat/Sun 23/24th April.