Update from Natural England
The Snakes Head Fritillaries are not in flower yet, so please continue to help protect North Meadow by keeping off until further notice. The ground conditions are still wet and heavy footfall causes ground compaction which damages this delicate habitat.
What is Compaction?
The Floodplain Meadows Partnership describe compaction as follows:
“Compaction is the biggest threat to the soil of a floodplain meadow. It can alter plant-community composition, as compacted soils become more waterlogged, leading to the development of relatively species-poor inundation communities and invasion by less palatable species such as rushes. Compaction reduces the abundance of soil invertebrates and may impact on soil-surface invertebrates such as beetles and spiders. It can also reduce the ability of a site to store floodwater and re-charge the aquifers below.”
You can read more about Soils in Chapter 5 of the Floodplain Meadows Partnership Technical Handbook. (Free download)
Natural England will put the way-marker posts out as soon as ground conditions are suitable for walkers.
We estimate this year’s fritillary display will not start until the week of 19th April so please continue to check this website for updates before visiting.
Natural England Reserve Manager