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Ducklington Fritillaries

THE FRITILLARY MEADOW

DUCKLINGTON MEAD SSSI

The field is now a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and registered with Natural England (no. 1002036). The field is let to a local farmer with the condition that it should be sympathetically and traditionally farmed. The normal programme for this is that it is left vacant from 1st of March to the 1st of July and then, when all the seeds have dropped, a crop of hay is taken. After that it can be grazed through until Christmas or a bit later if the weather is dry. It is also a condition that no fertilizers or chemicals are used.

Snake’s Head Fritillary (Fritillaria meleagris)

Fritillaries enjoy growing in damp meadows and used to be commonly found in the Thames Valley; indeed, the flowers used to be picked and sold in Oxford. This was in the days before World War II when the meadows were grazed from August to February and then left to grow for a hay crop in July. This gave the fritillaries the chance to grow, flower and shed their fully ripened seeds.This cycle is denied them by modern farming practices.
No artificial fertilisers were used which encouraged a great diversity of all meadow plants. Ducklington is not the only place where fritillaries survive. The meadows at Magdalen College in Oxford and North Meadow National Reserve near Cricklade are better known and more densely flowered. But Ducklington is the only place where visitors can walk among the flowers; it is this close contact which makes Fritillary Sunday so special for very many people. A leaflet with information on the Fritillary (fritillaria meleagris) is available at the field, as is a list of the 72 different plant species recorded when the field was surveyed some years ago.

 

For more information about the field please visit the Ducklington Church website and their Fritillary Sunday pages

 

Other experiences of Ducklington Fritillary Sunday

Fritillary Resources

 

Permanent link to this article: http://www.ducklingtonparishcouncil.gov.uk/the-parish/ducklington-fritillaries/