Ashtons Meadow - Michael Walker

 © Michael Walker

Ashton's Meadow Cowslips cpt C Langtree

Ashton's Meadow Cowslips © C Langtree

YELLOWHAMMER (1) NottsWT cpt John Smith

 © John Smith

Ashtons Moths
An ancient meadow, surrounded by species rich hedgerows, it is no wonder that it is a Site of Special Scientific Interest. This traditionally maintained meadow has not seen the use of artificial methods or pesticides for many years. You can still see the original ridges and furrows, while admiring a rich diversity of flowers and wildlife. Spring and summer are the best times to see the array of wild flowers on the reserve, while the grassland butterflies are best seen from July.

Location

Rampton Lane
Retford
Nottinghamshire
DN22 0BP
A static map of Ashtons Meadow

Know before you go

Size
4 hectares

Entry fee

Free access

Grazing animals

Yes

Walking trails

Please avoid trampling the hay crop (May to June) and disturbing grazing animals (August to Feb).

Access

Reserve can be accessed via a public footpath that crosses the site, running north-south, just inside the western boundary. Visitors are advised to keep to the marked paths so to avoid disturbing the wildlife.

Dogs

On a lead
Dogs are alllowed on a lead at all times and only on the public footpath.

When to visit

Opening times

Open at all times

Best time to visit

April to July

About the reserve

The reserve is an ancient meadow and has not been chemically treated or ploughed in recent times. The ancient ridges and furrows are clearly visible. This traditional meadow has a variety of flowers and grasses, including cowslips, green-winged orchid and yellow rattle. Unimproved pasture such as this is scarce in Nottinghamshire, so it is a must see!

It is maintained by a traditional method of allowing the grassland to grow throughout the spring and early summer, before cutting it back for hay in July. The livestock on site then keep the grass short through late summer and autumn before being removed just before Christmas, a method that maintains a wide variety of flora, moths and butterflies on the reserve.

Amongst the plant species you can expect to see are cowslip; the beautiful green-winged orchid with its rich purple flowers lined in emerald; yellow rattle on which yellow flowers give way to dry fruit whose seeds rattle when you shake them and the floral fried egg appearance of the oxeye daisy. The grassland also offers a home for moths and ground based species of butterfly like the meadow brown, the ringlet, and the attractive orange and brown gatekeeper.

The hedgerows around the site are another important habitat; look out for yellowhammers, a member of the bunting family whose almost luminously yellow head is a giveaway and has a song that goes “a-little-bit-of-bread-and-no-cheeeeese”. It is even said that the yellowhammer has another song that inspired Beethoven's 5th symphony!
 

Contact us

Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust
Contact number: 0115 958 8242
Contact email: info@nottswt.co.uk

Environmental designation

Local Wildlife Site (LWS)
Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI)