Friday, 15 June 2012

On The Moor

Between the villages of Meldreth and Shepreth in Cambridgeshire lies our local Nature Reserve - Shepreth L-Moor. The "L" in the name refers simply to its shape. It's not a moor in any usual sense of the word, just an area of rough grazing land that, because of its poor drainage, is only grazed in summer.

It supports a wide variety of flowering plants - nothing too rare or exceptional but very pretty even so. The scrub and bushes make the area attractive to birds, Yellowhammer, Chaffinch, Greenfinch, Linnet, Blackbird, Whitethroat, Robin and Goldfinch are all likely to be seen. I've also been lucky enough to encounter Wheatear, Redstart, Yellow Wagtail and Peregrine here in the last few years.

A common dozen!
Creeping Cinquefoil, Field Speedwell, Goat's Beard
White Campion, Herb Bennet, White Bryony
Marsh Thistle, White Clover, Dog Rose
 Sowthistle, Zigzag Clover, Birdsfoot Trefoil. 

If you're desperate to see Twayblade this is the place to come and you might find an odd Common Spotted Orchis too...

Twayblade, Common Spotted Orchis

But it's really just a wonderful place to wander around slowly with the sun on your back and watch nature at work...




At one time there would have been ground like this on the outskirts of every village but arable agriculture has expanded to such an extent that there's hardly any rough grazing land left nowadays, certainly very little that's cared for and protected like this little patch.
Long may it survive!

Take care. 



  1. A wonderful display! One of my favorites of you blog thus far! gin

  2. another nice series and I'm liking the collages

  3. Stunning - long may it survive indeed - and lets make a few more!

  4. What, in addition to seasonal grazing, keeps it open? The oak seedling indicates it wants to return to forest. And who owns the land, is it public land?

    1. The area was given to the cottagers of Shepreth to graze their livestock in 1823. Over the years the land did indeed return to scrub but was then taken over by The Wildlife Trust (a charity) who manage the area and returned it to its original condition. It is grazed by traditional breeds of sheep (Manx Loghtan) and cattle (Red Poll) which are brought in for the purpose - there being no cottagers who own animals anymore. It still needs some scrub clearance from time to time but the sheep manage to nibble off a lot of the new growth. Some willows are also pollarded.

  5. Thanks for sharing the wildflowers! I join you in your toast to wild places--Long may it survive!

  6. It must be old age but I'm starting to notice an increasing number of flowers, wild and captive, appearing amongst the photo's I take. Don't know how they get there.

    Thanks for your wee tour round the Moor (ish).

  7. Now that looks a reserve I could spend plenty of time at John! A great variety of Wildflowers, the sunshine is all that is needed to show them in all their splendour! Sadly sunshine is at a premium this summer!

    Lovely images and post John!

  8. Agreed John, a magical spot. Honestly thank goodness for people who take an interest in areas like this and spend their valuable time keeping them in such good shape. It's a very English thing, am I right, although on saying that, we do do an awful lot of restoration work here also that is carried out mainly by volunteers.

  9. What beautiful flowers and so many.

  10. Your lovely collage is a splendid specimen of knowledge and beauty, John.
    It all looks like a wonderful spot to while away a summery afternoon, which I know are as scarce as hen's teeth on the ground this year, but perhaps July will be warm and delightful.

  11. A lovely place to spend any part of a day. If I lived near I'd want to visit at all hours and every season.
    I appreciate your wildflower collage--many similar flowers here, sometimes slightly different common names.


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