6 types of meadow and where to see them

Visit a UK meadow this summer to enjoy beautiful wildflowers.  

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1. Chalk downland

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These pastures are some of the most species-rich grasslands in Britain. Orchids are a speciality, with other rarities like early gentian and round-headed rampion.

2. Dry acidic grassland

Dry acidic grasslands are widespread, and though not as rich in flowers as other grasslands can include abundant species such as tormentil, cat’s-ear and heath bedstraw, as well as mountain pansy and wild thyme. 

3. Lowland floodplain meadow

With deeper soil enriched by winter flooding, these riverside meadows have tall vegetation. Meadowsweet, greater burnet and greater bird’s-foot trefoil are characteristic.

4. Lowland neutral hay meadow

The classic hay meadows of lowland Britain have generally well-drained, neutral soil. Orchids can be abundant, plus specialities like dyer’s greenweed.

5. Rush and purple moor-grass pasture

Formed in high rainfall areas of western Britain, these wet pastures are dominated by rushes and tussocky grasses. They can be very rich in flowers though, with special plants such as whorled caraway and meadow thistle.

6. Upland hay meadow

Our rarest type of hay meadow with just 900ha surviving. These upland versions of classic neutral hay meadows have their own characteristic flowers such as wood crane’s-bill and melancholy thistle.

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