80% of the world population of Snake's head fritilliary

Cricklade Travel Blog

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Snake's Head Fritlliary

…grows in one meadow in Cricklade.  I was fascinated with this fact.  When you think of incredibly rare flowers, you do not think of fields just outside Swindon.  Rainforests.  Possibly deserts.  Maybe even beech woods in Wales.  But not fields outside Swindon, with the A419 swishing a few hundred yards away.

North Meadow is still held in common, which means that they never modernised the field in the 19th century.  I have no idea why it was never seized and "improved," but there has never been a chemical fertiliser or weed killer on this field.  So the lovely - if somewhat alien looking - little snake's head fritillary is free to bloom every late April.  I know the purple ones are snake's heads - I'm less sure about the white ones, which are slightly taller. 

Also, if you live in the town of Cricklade, you are allowed to graze your cow here after the flowers are finished with it, in July or so.  I have no idea where you are meant to keep your cow the rest of the time. The garden, maybe.  I arrived in a cow-free meadow before anyone else, at 8.30am, due to the fact that a bluebottle fly woke me up and I couldn't get back to sleep.  So it was just me and the flowers.  I stayed on the paths, so the photos are a little fuzzy.  And I left the meadow just before the sun burned through the early mist.  Oh well...

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Snakes Head Fritlliary
Snake's Head Fritlliary
A white frittiliary, that might be…
A white frittiliary, that might b…
Fritilliaries (and a dandelion)
Fritilliaries (and a dandelion)
Snakes head frittiliary
Snake's head frittiliary
Stone house
Stone house
photo by: sarahelaine