Wildflower meadows in the East of England

Flower rich meadows and grasslands alive with butterflies and bees are less common than they were, but can still be found if you know where to look in late spring and early summer. We're working hard to protect, conserve and restore the wildflower meadows in our care. Here are some of the best places to see them in the East of England.

Close up view of a beautiful Bee orchid

Anglesey Abbey, Cambridgeshire 

There are over 50 recorded species of wildflower in the wildflower meadows at Anglesey Abbey. Amongst the flowers growing here you'll find a variety of orchids, including the pyramidal orchid, bee orchid and spotted orchid.

Pyramid orchid

Dunstable Downs, Bedfordshire 

May is a magical month on the Downs as the wildflower meadows begin to bloom and the orchids emerge on the chalkland hillsides. Did you know that chalk grasslands are home to a huge range of different species? They are comparable to rainforests in their biodiversity as you can find up to 40 different species per square metre.

Runners on Takeley Hill covered in buttercups

Hatfield Forest, Essex 

From late May, you'll witness fantastic displays of buttercups that create a sea of yellow across the main plain at Hatfield Forest. At last count there were an estimated 300 million flowers here, supporting an abundance of wildlife.

Southern marsh orchid in the meadow

Oxburgh Hall, Norfolk 

In the orchard meadow the flowers have been added by our outdoor team. However, if you head from My Lady’s Wood into the Wash Pit, you'll find a natural wetland meadow in which orchids and fritillaries grow. Originally part of a wider fenland landscape, here you'll be able to see southern marsh orchids flowering in mid-summer.

Wicken Fen  - Common blue butterfly

Wicken Fen, Cambridgeshire 

Wildflowers take centre stage at Wicken Fen in late May and June. Look out for orchids, yellow rattle, oxeye daisies, meadow rue, yellow flag and comfrey. Identifying flowers can be difficult, so look out for some helpful tips from our rangers around the reserve, to help you spot the various species, as they come into flower.

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