Moor Meadows

Butterfly on wild flower Wildflower meadow Walking in a meadow Butterfly on a flower Wildflower Meadow flower

A community initiative to create, conserve and restore flower-rich grasslands on Dartmoor

About Moor Meadows

In April 2015 a new 'Moor Meadows' community initiative was established by a small number of local people whose aim was to start a friendly group to help each other in conserving, restoring and creating flower-rich grasslands in the landscape of Dartmoor.

Around 150 local people attended the launch, which was called A Celebration of Wildflower Meadows. The renowned ecologist George Peterken, author of the definitive guide, was the key speaker at this meeting. Subsequently, a 'Meadows Exchange Forum' was set up which now numbers over 80 active members, plus a series of Open Meadows Days and free talks.

The First Dartmoor Meadows Festival 2017

The First Dartmoor Meadows Festival 2017, organised by Moor Meadows, is dedicated to celebrating and protecting our vanishing wildflower meadows and the wealth of wildlife they support.

The Festival commences with a series of Open Meadows Days, mainly in the month of June. Several members of the Moor Meadows group are opening their meadows for others to enjoy. Some of these meadows are ancient, yet others have been recently created. If you have a meadow or pasture you would like to restore to a flowering meadow, or if you simply wish to create wild areas in your garden, then come and be inspired. Or, just come to enjoy the sheer pleasure of walking in a beautiful meadow, carpeted with flowers and alive with insects.

Visits are free!

Many are drop-in events with no booking necessary, others are guided walks and talks, some of these will need to be pre-booked.

The Dartmoor Meadows Festival culminates in the Meadow Makers' Conference, on Saturday lst July.

Open Meadows Days

Several members open their meadows for free, for others to enjoy. Many of these are not normally open to the public.

June 2017

New Park, Buckfastleigh, TQ11 0HL

Saturday 10th June, 2-5pm

Free drop-in event. Limited numbers, so please book by 9th June by emailing tarynnixon@btinternet.com.

  • Grid ref: SX725675
  • Owners: Taryn Nixon and Odile Bourras
  • Description: Around seven acres of established wildflower meadow with many Southern Marsh Orchids, alongside the River Mardle. It is possible to walk a mile across meadows to Brook Manor - see below (one ford crossing, wellies advised).

Brook Manor, Buckfastleigh, TQ11 0HR

Saturday 10th June, 2-5pm

Free drop-in event. Limited numbers, so please book by 9th June by emailing donnacox@puna.co.uk.

  • Grid ref: SX713676
  • Owners: Kevin and Donna Cox
  • Description: County Wildlife Site. 30 acres of meadows sheltered in the Mardle Valley. Several meadows under restoration into hay meadows. Includes an established damp meadow with Yellow Flag Iris, Southern Marsh Orchids and other associated wet meadow species. This meadow is managed for Small Pearl Bordered Fritillary butterflies.
  • Other notes: You are free to wander. Some steep fields. Refreshments – none, but you are welcome to bring a picnic. Dogs on leads welcome. It is possible to walk a mile across meadows to New Park – see above (one ford crossing, wellies advised).

Lewthorn Cross, Ilsington TQ13 9RR

Sunday 11th June, 10.30am-1pm

Free drop-in event.

  • Grid ref: SX779761
  • Owners: Paul and Angela Brassley
  • Description: 3.5 acres of wildflower meadow including thousands of mainly Southern Marsh Orchids.
  • Directions: SatNav will work all right. For those who’d rather not use it, take the Ilsington turning from Drum Bridges roundabout on the A38. Follow the signs to Ilsington. When you get there (about 3 miles) look out for the Ilsington Hotel on the right hand side. The field is on the left at the next crossroads.
  • Parking: If there’s no space in the road opposite the field, turn left at Lewthorn Cross and park in the playing fields car park.
  • Other notes: We will happily walk around with you or you can take your time and walk as you wish, but it would nice to see you. If we’re not in the field ring 01364 661285 and we’ll come down (our house is only 100 yards up the road).
  • Refreshments: None.

Pudsham Down near Buckland-in-the-Moor

Sunday 11th June, 2-5pm

Free drop-in event.

  • Grid ref: SX727744
  • Owners: Ralph Mackridge and Jill Millar
  • Description: Part of a County Wildlife Site, our field is just under two and a half acres of species rich grassland. Formerly used as horse and cattle pasture. In recent years it has been grazed annually in the autumn by Dartmoor ponies in collaboration with Dartmoor National Park. The field is over 300m above sea level, with wonderful views up to Holne Moor. It’s mostly very wet in the winter but largely dries out in the summer and supports a rich mosaic of vegetation, including yellow rattle, birds-foot trefoil, lousewort, water mints, knapweed (late summer) and four species of orchid: common spotted, southern marsh, greater butterfly and (a few) twayblades. Also profuse associated invertebrates.
  • Directions from Widecombe: Take the turning out of the village signed Venton, past the Rugglestone Inn. At Chittleford take the left hand form and continue up the hill to Pudsham Down where you come to a T- junction. Turn right here. About 200m further on there is a gate on the left going onto a rough track, marked as a bridle path.
  • Directions from Buckland-in-the-Moor: From the village take to road to Widecombe. After about a mile the lane comes to a junction. Turn RIGHT (Widecombe is left). Go up the hill, over a cattle grid and the entrance to the bridle path leading to the field is on the RIGHT. Our field is second one on right, so through the second gate on the right, about 60m from the road, opposite to where there is a fork in the track.
  • Parking: On the same side at the gate there is a grass verge, enough room for two cars. Alternatively, open the gate and drive down the, note, very rough track until you get to where the track forks and just opposite the gate to the field. There is room for two or three vehicles here. Also close to Cold East Cross (741742): 5mins drive. We will happily walk around with you or you can take your time and walk as you wish.
  • Refreshments: None.

Brimpts Farm Hay Meadows, Dartmeet, PL20 6SG

Saturday 17th June, 1-5pm

Free drop-in event.

  • Owner: Andy Bradford
  • Description: Five acres of species-rich hay meadows at award-winning Brimpts Farm. The meadows are brimming with various orchid species. You can wander at your leisure.
  • Directions: Brimpts Farm, Dartmeet, Dartmoor, Devon PL20 6SG.
  • Parking: Along the farm drive.
  • Access to the meadows: As you take the turning into the farm you will see a signpost on your right-hand side showing you where to walk to the meadows.
  • Refreshments: Cream teas at the farm.

Kingswood House, Oaklands Road, Buckfastleigh TQ11 0BL

Sunday 18th June, 1.30-4.30pm

Free drop-in event with walk and talk at 1.30pm.

  • Grid ref: SX729668
  • Owners: David and Jackie Crook
  • Description: Approximately 5 acres of pasture converted about 7 years ago into meadows showing what can be done with a heavily grazed area, fairly dry and well drained. Described by Devon Wildlife Trust as ‘more herbs than grass with a good mix of species’. Grass has been controlled with Yellow Rattle showing how effective this plant is. Early Purple and Southern Marsh Orchids, lots of eyebright, a good mix. If you’d like to find out how Jackie and David created their meadow they’ll be leading a walk and talk tour for the first hour.
  • Directions: Best not to follow your SatNav! From the A38, drive past Buckfast Abbey, up the hill, turn right at the top towards Holne. Take the first left (Cricket Lane) which runs down the side of the cricket/rugby ground. At the end of Cricket Lane where it joins with Oaklands Road the entrance to Kingswood House is directly in front of you.
  • Parking: There is parking on site (can take about 8 to 10 cars) so come down the drive and park in front of the house.
  • Other notes: You are free to walk at your leisure. We have about 2 acres of garden that is a mixture of formal areas as well as areas suited for wildlife and we are happy if you want to walk around our gardens as well.
  • Refreshments: None.

Great Cowhill Down at Beetor Farm, Great Cowhill, North Bovey (near Chagford)

Sunday 18th June, 12-5pm

  • Free drop-in event
  • Grid ref: SX703848
  • Owner: Steve Pollard
  • Description: An infertile, 3 hectare, dry pasture, formerly a down, with an exposed location at 300m. The field has historically been cut for silage, but for the last few years has instead been cut late to hay, without any fertiliser. It is being allowed to regenerate naturally without the introduction of seed. Please note, it is still in very much in transition and “yellow”, with lots of Cat's Ear, Hawkbit and Hay Rattle, but with some Eyebright and orchids - mainly Southern Marsh. Nearby is a 0.5 hectare area of wet Rhôs pasture, enclosed by deciduous woodland, adjacent to the River Bovey, which has Yellow Iris, Heath Spotted Orchid, Ivy-leaved Bellflower, Valerian, Devil's-bit Scabious, etc., and is being restored with lighter grazing and scrub clearance.
  • Directions from B3212: 0.6 miles south of The Miniature Pony Centre, 0.8 miles north of the moor grid, take the road signed to Lettaford. Keep right at fork, then turn into second gate on right. 50.646927, -3.834468 on Google Maps.
  • Directions from Chagford: Cross over Langaford Bridge and turn into first gateway on left after 0.3 miles
  • Parking: In adjacent field.
  • Refreshments: None.

Illustrated talk at the National Park Visitor Centre, Princetown, followed by a guided walk in a Pudhsam haymeadow

Saturday 24th June, 10.30am-3pm

  • Free event but donations most welcome.
  • Booking essential! Telephone 01364 631233 or email wylde@gn.apc.org
  • Location: National Park Visitor Centre, Princetown, PL20 6QF
  • Description: A slideshow talk, entitled The Dartmoor Hay Meadows Project and Hay Meadow Flora, will be given by Chrissy Mason, community ecologist with the Moor than Meets the Eye project, at the National Park Visitor Centre, Princetown (Old Duchy Hotel), Princetown. This is followed by a visit to Dartmoor Preservation Association’s flower-filled hay meadow at Pudsham, near Buckland-in-the-Moor for a botanical stroll. See hay meadow conservation in action and learn about Dartmoor’s hay meadow flora. Car sharing or own cars for travel.
  • Refreshments: Bring a packed lunch.

Fursdon Farm, Moretonhampstead TQ13 8QT

Saturday 24th June, 2-5pm

  • Free drop-in event.
  • Owner: Jenny Kyle
  • Description: My meadow is about an acre and started ten years ago. We removed the top soil then broadcast a wild flower mix from Tuckers, in Ashburton. It’s been great. I’m an artist and photographer and most days film and document the insects, plants and butterflies that appear. I will be there all afternoon to discuss the method of how we created our meadow, should it be of interest to you.
  • Directions: From the centre of Moretonhampstead, opposite the Co-op, take the road to North Bovey, down Pound Street. Take the first lane left, just past the houses. Go down and up the hill to a T junction, turn left, and we are the first farm entrance on the right. It will be sign posted.
  • Parking: Come down the drive to a set of buildings where there is parking for 10 cars.
  • Refreshments: None.

Pudsham Meadows, near Buckland-in-the-moor

Thursday 29th June, 2-5pm

  • Free drop-in event
  • Grid ref: SX727745
  • Owner: Dartmoor Preservation Association
  • Description: The three meadows adjoin the enclosed part of the Pudsham Down bridlepath. The land lies at 340 metres above sea level and occupies c4.3 acres (1.7 hectares). It was acquired by the DPA in 2016. The previous owner Liza Jay Proctor entered into a Management Agreement with the DNPA and similar management will be continued.  Ponies graze the meadows for a short time each autumn. Scrub clearance and bracken control are carried out in the two smaller meadows. The latter are dominated by bracken in June. Last year the meadows contained over 3000 orchid spikes of four species: Heath Spotted-orchid; Greater Butterfly-orchid, Southern Marsh-orchid and Twayblade. Although the orchids will be over by the end of June there will be many other plants in flower.
  • Directions: From Bovey Tracey and Ashburton, approach via Cold East Cross (SX 741742).  From Widecombe, take the turning out of the centre of the village signed Venton, past the Rugglestone Inn.  At Chittleford take the left hand turn and continue up the hill onto Pudsham Down.  Turn right at the T - junction.  About 200 metres further on there is a gate on the left at the top of the bridle path (after the track to Ruddycleave). The DPA's open meadow is the first gate on the left going down the bridlepath.
  • Parking: The nearest car-park is above the stream between Buckland Common and Pudsham Down (SX 735747).  There is limited parking on the verge where the bridlepath emerges onto Pudsham Down.
  • Refreshments: None.
  • Further details: If any more information is required regarding the open day please contact Hilary Marshall on 01409 211581 or hilmarshall@yahoo.co.uk (not during 10-19 June).
  • Volunteering: The DPA welcomes new volunteers who would like to join the team carrying on the conservation and enhancement of this and other sites. If you are interested, contact details can be found on the volunteering section of www.dartmoorpreservation.co.uk

July 2017

Magical Meadows: A family fun day celebrating Dartmoor Meadows

Sunday 2nd July 2017, 11am-4.30pm
Brimpts Farm, Dartmoor

A FREE event aimed at kindling children's interest in the natural world and an opportunity to walk in the beautiful award winning ancient hay meadows at Brimpts Farm, which are full of wildflowers.

There will be plenty of children's activities with a chance to make magical Wildflower Fairies and Fantastic Fairy Houses. Get the buzz with The Bumblebee Conservation Trust or in a flutter with Butterfly Conservation, discover bugs and beasties with John Walters, naturalist on many television and radio programmes and much, much more!

Entry: free of charge, except a small one for the Fairy House activity. No booking necessary.

For more details visit moorthanmeetstheeye.org

Organised by Moor than meets the eye with support from The Moor Meadows Group.

Location

Brimpts Farm, Dartmeet, Dartmoor PL20 6SG (view on Google Maps)

The following two Devon Wildlife Trust meadows are accessible any time, but it is recommended to visit in July.

Bellever Moor and Meadows Nature Reserve, near Postbridge

Coronation Meadow, Dunsdon, near Holsworthy

August 2017

'Meadow Butterflies And Flowers' - a fundraising day for Devon Wildlife Trust, Deer Park Farm (two miles from Chudleigh)

Sunday 6th August, 10.30am-1pm and 2-4.30pm

  • Free event but donations welcome for Devon Wildlife Trust
  • Booking essential! Email audrey@boveyclimateaction.org.uk to book your place.
  • Owners: John Whetman and Audrey Compton
  • Description: John and Audrey, members of the Moor Meadows Group, won the England 2015 Meadow and Grasslands Award for their work at Deer Park Farm, a species rich County Wildlife Site. This very special site has nearly 40 acres of ancient grassland and hay meadows, supporting over 350 species of wild flowers. August is probably the best month for insects, all feeding on our flowers - or each other! Come and share them.
  • Notes: This guided walk is about one mile, including some steep hills.
  • Refreshments: There will be tea/coffee and cakes at 10.30am and 4pm.

November 2017

'Waxcap walk', Deer Park Farm (two miles from Chudleigh)

Saturday 11th November, 11am-1pm

  • Free event but donations welcome
  • Booking essential! Email audrey@boveyclimateaction.org.uk to book your place.
  • Owners: John Whetman and Audrey Compton
  • Description: Come and see lots of different waxcap and other extraordinary fungi in a rainbow of different colours at this very special County Wildlife Site.
  • Notes: 1-2 miles, including some steep hills. Wear boots/wellies!
  • Refreshments: Bring a picnic lunch if you like.

Open by arrangement

Species-rich garden, Staverton

  • Owner: Malcolm Baldwin
  • Description: I have a front garden full of wildflowers – about 40 species throughout the year. The back garden is a mixture of wildflowers and vegetables. Anyone is welcome to come on an ad hoc basis
  • Access: Please call Malcolm on 01803 762751

Semi-wild garden, Drewsteignton

  • Owners: Bas and Rosemary Payne
  • Description: Within a large, mainly semi-wild, garden. Three small areas managed as meadows. Many species of wild flowers. Be inspired - one meadow was newly created in 2012 from what was just a concreted area.
  • Location: Mill House, Clifford Bridge, Drewsteignton, Exeter EX6 6QE
  • Access: Email bas.payne@gmail.com or phone 01647 24515.

Churchstanton, Blackdown Hills

  • Owner: Emma Finch
  • Description: 15 acres of unimproved/semi-improved pasture in Churchstanton on the Blackdown Hills, with quite an assortment of habitats. I’m really happy for people to have a look round with me and share/exchange some knowledge… I'm learning!
  • Access: Call Emma on 07957 161748.

Conference

The 1st Meadow Makers' Conference

Saturday 1st July 2017, 9.30am-5.30pm
Brimpts Farm, Dartmoor

Sorry, tickets for this event are now sold out.

The first Meadow Makers’ Conference coincides with National Meadows Day and brings together all those who love wildflower meadows with top wildlife and meadow experts for an inspirational day of talks.

The event is for anyone who has a wildflower meadow or who would like to turn a pasture into one, or for those who simply wish to create wild areas in their garden – gardens and orchards can be wildflower meadows too. Come and find out from the experts about how to create and manage a meadow, whatever the scale, and find out what you can do for the wildlife that depends upon them – the bees, butterflies and birds.

Speakers

Top speakers booked for the event include Stephen Moss, author and broadcaster, Professor Dave Goulson, the world renowned bee expert, and two hugely knowledgeable meadow experts, ecologist Sue Everett, advisor to Flora Locale, and Charles Flower, author of Where Have All the Flowers Gone? Other speakers include John Walters, the Devon-based naturalist who will be talking about the birds of meadows, especially our local ones, and Butterfly Conservation who will advise on the practical steps you can take to help reverse the decline of Dartmoor’s butterflies.

If community projects are your interest, then there’s advice from Buglife on creating community meadows and other ways to enhance public spaces for pollinators. There is also the chance for a spot of wildflower identification for beginners with an expert botanist, plus the opportunity for a walk and talk through the beautiful ancient hay meadows of Brimpts Farm, led by Professor Dave Goulson and John Walters.

So come and join other fellow meadow makers for the day - you’ll leave the event better informed and filled with ideas and inspiration.

Download the programme (PDF)

The Venue

It’s taking place at Brimpts Farm, Dartmeet, Dartmoor PL20 6SG (view on Google Maps). Brimpts has an award-winning hay meadow which you can enjoy exploring during the day between talks, or after the event.

Tickets

Tickets are just £22. Includes all talks, a buffet lunch and refreshments during the day.

Organised by the Moor Meadows group

Supported by the Duchy of Cornwall, Dartmoor National Park and Moor than meets the eye Landscape Partnership with Heritage Lottery Funding

Supporters' logos

Email Exchange

There are currently over 80 active members. The purpose of the email exchange is to help each other in conserving, restoring and creating flower-rich grasslands in the landscape of Dartmoor - no matter what the scale. Many members already have a flowering meadow, a pasture they wish to convert. Others wish to create wild areas in their garden, as gardens and orchards can be wildflower meadows too. Yet others are interested in creating meadows in the community, such as transforming road verges, neglected areas of parks or their local churchyard.

In addition to the talks, members of the Exchange receive news of free practical workshops and they can post questions and receive answers from other members of the group. Last year topics ranged from information on meadow management techniques, to the availability of species-rich hay bales for reseeding purposes.

Joining the Email Exchange

Joining the exchange is free and you can unsubscribe at any time. In order to join, simply email meadowexchange-subscribe@yahoogroups.com. You will be sent a link to join by the moderator. Members of the email exchange also automatically receive news about all events.

If you would solely like news of talks and Open Meadows Days, then email donnacox@puna.co.uk, who will add you to the events list.