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Saturday, May 05, 2007

Group visit to Babcary Meadows Reserve

This is a white variant of the Green Winged Orchid.

Another photo shows the Heart of the Levels Group members during the tour.

The yellow flower is Yellow Rattle which is often added to grass meadows to restrict strong grasses and make life easier for wildflowers. We plan to sow seed on our 4 acre private nature reserve this autumn as recommended for best results. It occurs naturally here at Babcary Meadows.
The visit went very well in perfect weather and a group of 13 enjoyed a walk around the 30 acres of unimproved meadows under the guidance of the Reserve Manager. The highlight was to see several varieties of the Green Winged Orchid and a probable sighting of a Marsh Orchid.

This is what the SWT says about this site:

The reserve lies eight mile east of Somerton and is part of an SSSI. It is a
site of 12 ha (30 acres) and is a species rich, unimproved, neutral
hay-meadow situated by the River Cary. Over two hundred species of flora
have been recorded on the reserve, fourteen of which are classified 'notable
species' in Somerset, and six of which are orchids.

This outstanding Site of Special Scientific Interest is a traditional
lowland hay meadow, a type of habitat that has declined dramatically since
the Second World War. Agricultural intensification, (increased ploughing,
use of fertilisers, drainage and silage cropping) has reduced it by 97 per
cent. The remainder is still being whittled down year by year, making this
site evermore important on a local, national and international scale. (The
habitat present on this site is not found outside Britain and northern