The Wildflower Meadow at Anglesey Abbey

Found to the west of the gardens, the Wildflower Meadows cover approximately 25 acres and contain over 50 species of wildflowers.

Throughout the summer, the meadows will become a hive of activity, with butterflies, small birds and numerous insects, including very important bees on the search for pollen and nectar. Between April and August, our record number of species recorded was 56. 

Delve a little deeper

The meadows here at Anglesey Abbey are Lowland Calcareous grasslands, which are a UK Biodiversity Action Plan (BAP) priority habitat. When they were last formally surveyed it was recorded that we had 5 different species of Orchid, including a rare white helleborine orchid, which is currently in the Red Data Book of threatened species, and is a BAP priority. It only takes a wander through to be able to not only spot the rich biodiversity that can be found in the meadows, but also hear it, as it buzzes with activity.

As Anglesey is surrounded by intensive farmland, the meadows here are a surviving remnant of a grassland type that’s been lost from the surrounding landscape, which makes caring for them all the more important.

A common spotted orchid found in the Wildflower Meadow at Anglesey Abbey
A common spotted orchid found in the Wildflower Meadow at Anglesey Abbey
A common spotted orchid found in the Wildflower Meadow at Anglesey Abbey

Caring for the meadows

Today, we manage the meadows here by cutting and collecting the arisings over the autumn and winter months. This aims to replicate a natural grazing a little by removing nutrients from the soil, which in turn improves not only the wildflower display but all forms of life, from the 22 grass species to the insects, small mammals, and birds that enjoy the grassland habitats.

Careful management

Visitors to the meadows may also notice that we sometimes have a spot of Ragwort noticeable. To some, Ragwort is a worry, and more than a yellow wildflower, as it can be poisonous to horses. We habitually leave it to grow with the knowledge that there are no horses on the estate to find it, but how very important it is to the life cycle of the cinnabar moth, which is also found on the BAP priority list.

The Cinnabar caterpillar feeds on the leaves and flowers of the Common Ragwort, and so by leaving the Ragwort in place, we are ensuring the continuation of this rare, beautiful red moth.

Rest assured though, as soon as the flowers are gone our garden team are quick to remove it before it turns to seed, which helps control the amount within our meadows.

Experience the hive of activity in the Wildflower Meadows this summer.
The Wildflower Meadows with a view of the House
Experience the hive of activity in the Wildflower Meadows this summer.