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  • Julie Muller

BROTHERIDGE GREEN MEADOWS - Wildflower Refuge - The Secrets Of A Hay Meadow!

Updated: Jan 31, 2022

(Nearest post code - WR8 0BB)

Visited by Zak and Shep

Under normal circumstances, many dogs and their humans visit Brotheridge Green Disused Railway Line in Worcestershire.

This nature reserve which is owned and managed by the Worcestershire Wildlife Trust has been closed during lockdown and so the wildlife living there will have become used to a life undisturbed by us canines or our humans.

Very close to the railway line is another SSSI called Brotheridge Green Meadows which comprise a group of five meadows and an orchard. Over the years these five meadows have never been improved for farming and so there are lots of wildflowers growing here. These wildflowers in turn support a wealth of wildlife which could so easily be disturbed if Shep and I stray off the path which cuts through them.

Two sheepdogs rest on their walk along the footpath that bisects the Brotheridge Green Meadows, near Malvern, Worcestershire
Zak and Shep rest between the meadows at Brotheridge Green, near Malvern, Worcestershire

Different plants grow in different places across the meadows. In some places there are large numbers of yellow hay rattle and lesser knapweed which attracts hover flies and both honey and bumblebees.

Other parts of the meadows are damper and support sedges and sweet-smelling meadow sweet.

Still other parts are home to a variety of grasses such as quaking grass which look like loose clusters of miniature hops and crested dog’s tail although I don’t see any resemblance to my tail!!

The rarest plants that are found here are the adders tongue fern and the green veined orchid. The adders tongue fern can only be seen above ground in May and June. The rest of the year it exists as a rhizome under the ground.

The green veined orchid has purple flowers which grow around a central spike. These flowers appear in May and June. A green veined hood over each flower gives the orchid its name.

The fact that these meadows are not very accessible gives them much better protection from humans and from us. This is really important because there are not many of these unimproved grasslands left in the UK.

Across the country the Wildlife Trusts do a brilliant job protecting and expanding these special habitats by working with enlightened landowners who understand how precious these habitats are.

The path that runs across that small section of the hay meadows would be well worth a look at the height of summer.

As for us dogs, we will need to be kept on a lead or at least under very close control so that we do not disturb the ground-nesting birds which would be using the meadow to raise their young.

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