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Meadows to visit in Wales

Close-up of Autumn Hawkbit with the castle in the background at Chirk Castle, Wrexham
Chirk Castle's wildflower meadow in summer | © National Trust Images/Paul Harris

Wildflower meadows are an important part of our natural and cultural heritage, yet across the UK they have declined by 97 per cent since the 1930s. However, we've been working hard to revive and restore these precious landscapes across Wales, from the valleys of Eryri (Snowdonia) to the coastal fields of Ceredigion. Learn more about our work and where you can see meadows in Wales.

The decline of meadows

During the Second World War, ancient wildflower meadows were cultivated to support the national drive to increase food production. Increased ploughing, drainage, and fertiliser and herbicide application contributed to the loss of a staggering 7.5 million acres of wildflower grassland across the UK.

Today, modern farming methods favour silage fields which have as few as two or three plant species, often without a single flowering plant. This has resulted in many iconic flower species being added to a watch list, which has put the wildlife that depends on them under threat.

How we’re restoring meadows

We’re carefully managing meadows across Wales to help them to thrive, and we’ve now restored over 213 hectares, or an area that’s about 50 times as big as the Principality Stadium in Cardiff.

Our work includes scarifying, cutting, and allowing winter grazing before and after sowing seeds, to give them a good chance at germinating and growing. Rangers then collect seeds from mature meadows and scatter them in new fields so they can flourish too.

With over 40 per cent of the UK’s remaining wildflower meadows existing in Wales, we have plenty of places for you to explore these natural landscapes and get closer to nature.

Meadows to visit in North Wales

Wildflower meadow at Bodnant Garden in summer, Conwy, Wales
Wildflower meadow at Bodnant Garden in Conwy, Wales | © National Trust Images/Gwenno Parry

Bodnant Garden, Conwy

Nestled within 80-acres of world-class garden, there are three thriving wildflower meadows to explore at Bodnant - Old Park, Furnace Meadow, and Cae Poeth. Thanks to a traditional grassland management plan, they’re all flourishing and as you explore the mown paths from late spring through to its cutting in late August, you’ll find hundreds of wildflowers in a rainbow of colours, including four different species of delicate orchid.

Visitors walking through the magnificent meadows at Chirk Castle
Visitors walking through the magnificent meadows at Chirk Castle | © Paul Harris

Chirk Castle, Wrexham

Since 2019, 16-acres of hay meadow next to Chirk Castle’s portcullis have been transformed into a species-rich meadow that are now full of the sounds of butterflies, bees, birds, and other wildlife. Escape into nature as you explore winding grass paths and spot many different varieties of wildflowers, including the rare and declining Greater butterfly-orchid that was recorded in the meadow for the first time in 2022. Don’t miss the Mindful Meadow too, a reflective space for people to connect to nature, by the Kitchen Garden.

Orchids and grasses in the wildflower meadow at Erddig, Wrexham, with the mansion house behind.
Erddig's wildflower meadow in summer | © National Trust Images/Arnhel de Serra

Erddig, Wrexham

Whether you’re visiting the 1200-acre countryside estate, or the 18th-century Grade I listed walled garden, there are plenty of colourful meadows to explore at Erddig. Take a stroll amongst the wildflowers that fill the banks of the garden’s ‘canals’ or boating lakes, or follow the marked route across the estate to Plas Gronno, where the restored meadow is overflowing with yellow rattle, cat’s ear, wild carrot and grass vetchling.

Children running in the garden at Penrhyn Castle, Wales, in summer
Children run in the garden at Penrhyn Castle | © National Trust / Faye Maher

Penrhyn Castle and Garden, Bangor

In the grounds of this dramatic Neo-norman castle, we’ve established two new meadows that that are awash with wildflowers throughout the warm summer months. Find a quiet spot to enjoy a picnic and immerse yourself in nature as you listen to humming bees, take in the spectacular view of Eryri (Snowdonia), and watch the swooping swallows that come to feed on the different insects that are supported by the flowers and grasses.

A bee on an orchid in the wildflower meadow at Plas Newydd, Anglesey, North Wales
Orchid in the meadow at Plas Newydd, Anglesey | © National Trust Images/James Dobson

Plas Newydd House and Garden, Anglesey

Once a muddy rugby pitch, Cae Maes y Frân is now one of Anglesey’s Coronation Meadows, recognised for its abundant, species-rich, wildlife. Explore five vibrant acres that are brimming with naturally occurring plants, grasses, and flowers such as wild orchids, red clover, ox-eye daisy, and meadow buttercups, all of which support our native bees and other insects, animals, and birds.

The orchard planted in a meadow above the house at Plas yn Rhiw in Gwynedd, Wales.
A view of the orchard above the house at Plas yn Rhiw. | © National Trust Images/Joe Wainwright

Plas yn Rhiw, Llŷn Peninsula

Nestled above Plas yn Rhiw’s delightful manor house you’ll find a meadow and orchard with some of the best views in Wales. Thanks to the local primary school children, the meadow is flourishing and full of the sound of buzzing with insects and calling birds which include swallows, house martins and buzzards. Take a seat on one of the perfectly placed benches and enjoy the views whilst you’re surrounded by nature.

Meadows to visit in Mid Wales

Meadow flowers beside a stream at Llanerchaeron in Ceredigion, Wales
Meadow flowers beside a stream at Llanerchaeron | © National Trust Images / Ian Shaw

Llanerchaeron, Ceredigion

This traditional Welsh estate set in the wooded Aeron valley is full of bird song, colour, and wildlife during the summer months. Look for kingfishers and dippers as you take a stroll alongside the river or watch swallows feeding over the traditional hay meadows that surround the Grade I listed Georgian villa. With 50 different species of grasses and herbs filling this beautiful spot, there’s plenty to discover.

Meadows to visit in South Wales

A family walking in the wildflower meadow, Colby Woodland Garden, Pembrokeshire
A family walking in the wildflower meadow, Colby Woodland Garden, Pembrokeshire | © National Trust Images/ Chris lacey

Colby Woodland Garden, Pembrokeshire

Located between Colby’s tranquil woodlands and trickling streams are four-acres of colourful flood meadow that many creatures call home. Each year we allow the grasses and wildflowers to grow on into late summer, only cutting them when they have set seed. In doing so, we provide the perfect habitat for field mice, voles, bats, frogs, toads, butterflies, and a wide variety of different birds

Close-up of buttercups in a wildflower meadow with woodland in the distance at Dinefwr, Carmarthenshire
Buttercup meadow at Dinefwr, Carmarthenshire | © National Trust Images / Corrinne Manning

Dinefwr, Carmarthenshire

This 800-acre estate is rich with diverse habitats, including rich flowering hay meadows in the Outer Park and Castle Field. Full of colour and home to some of Britain’s most elusive mammals and birds - including woodpeckers, white tree creepers and spotted flycatchers – there’s plenty to discover from spring until late summer, when they’re cut and provide fodder for the heard of White Park Cattle.

A medley of wildflowers growing in the raised area beyond the vine walk at Dyffryn House and Gardens, Cardiff
Colourful wildflowers at Dyffryn Gardens in summer | © National Trust Images/Andrew Butler

Dyffryn Gardens, Cardiff

This 55-acre restoration garden has plenty to explore in the summer months. As well in the billowing herbaceous borders, colour is plentiful in the different meadows that have been created to increase the diversity of pollinators and insects in the garden. Don’t miss the ‘mini meadows’ on the Great Lawn that are cut into different shapes each year to limit soil compaction and help the brightly coloured waxcaps thrive later in autumn.

Paxton's Tower, Carmarthenshire, Wales, on top of a hill with blue sky behind and wild grassland in the foreground
Rich grasslands at Paxton's Tower | © National Trust Images/James Dobson

Paxton’s Tower, Carmarthenshire

In 2021, seed donated by the National Botanic Garden of Wales was used to enrich the grassland around this spectacular Neo-gothic folly, perched high on a hill above the village of Llanarthne. This local seed has created a 3-hectares of thriving Welsh meadow, recognised for its local character, and there are plenty of colourful blooms to discover as well as glorious views across the surrounding countryside.

Visitors walking among sunflowers with the sea behind at Rhosili and South Gower Coast
Enjoy the spectacular display of sunflowers at Rhosili and South Gower Coast | © National Trust Images/Chris Lacey

Rhosili and the South Gower Coast, Gower

Nature-friendly farming practices have improved biodiversity at Rhosili and the Vile, a restored example of medieval strip farming, is thriving thanks to the introduction of traditional arable crops and more than 15 hectares of wildflower meadows. With colourful clover, cornfield annuals, poppies and sunflowers providing a rich food source for bees, butterflies, choughs, and overwintering birds, it’s the perfect place to take a relaxing stroll and escape into nature.

Two female walkers approaching a gate on the coast path at Southwood Estate, with a bank of wild flowers in the foreground
Visitors walking on the coastal pathway at Southwood Estate, Pembrokeshire | © National Trust Images/John Millar

Southwood Estate, Pembrokeshire

Stretching straight to the sea, the Southwood Estate is a charming coastal spot that’s full of scenic surprises, one of its best being its traditionally managed meadows. Thanks to green hay transfers, late summer cutting, and the grazing of Welsh black cattle, 24-hectares of species poor, agriculture land have been transformed into a wildflower rich landscape that is a haven for nature and photographers alike.

View of Powis Castle, perched above its terraced gardens, Powys, Wales, in autumn.

Discover more in Wales

A Celtic land with an industrial past steeped in myth, legend, poetry and song. Croeso i Gymru.

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