Hucclecote Meadows SSSI and LNR
Hucclecote Meadows, a 2.7 Hectare (6 acres) site, form part of the Hucclecote Meadows Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). The site is designated due to its national importance as a species rich ancient pasture. This unimproved lowland grassland, is a Local Nature Reserve (LNR) and a Key Wildlife Site (KWS) due to its local importance as a neutral meadow on the urban fringe.
The meadows are host to a variety of flora. The grasses include Yorkshire Fog, Crested Dog’s-tail, Quaking Grass, Sweet Vernal-grass, and Meadow Barley. The fields are rich with neutral meadow flowers including Birds-Foot Trefoil, Lady’s Bedstraw, Great Burnet, Yellow-Rattle and several Orchids.
In the Summer a variety of butterflies can be seen such as Meadow Brown, Common Blue, Marbled White and Comma, as well as day flying moths including Burnet Companion, Mother Shipton, and Chimney Sweeper.
The fields are bordered by ancient hedgerows of Hawthorn and Blackthorn which provide shelter and nesting sites for birds and small mammals, and roosting sites for bats. Owls and Buzzards hunt for small mammals in the grassland. Bats, such as the common pipistrelle, can be seen feeding on insects in the meadows and along the hedgerows after dusk.
The pond is rich in aquatic life all year. In the Spring frogspawn is abundant. In the summer, pond skaters can be seen skimming on the pond surface above the water fleas, leeches and caddisfly larvae in the water below. Damselflies and dragonflies such as the Common Darter, Broad-bodied Chaser and the Southern Hawker can be seen picking insects from above the water and surrounding vegetation. The pond is dominated by Branched Bur-reed, Water Plantain, and Bogbean, Yellow Iris and Marsh Marigold.
Guidelines for Dog Walking
We are pleased that many walkers and their dogs enjoy these meadows. Dog mess is rich in nutrients which encourages the growth of plant species such as nettles which outcompete the wildflowers. Please help us to conserve our meadows by cleaning up after your dog.
The main entrance to Hucclecote Meadows is located on Lobley's Drive, opposite Laxton Road (grid ref: SO871164)
Who looks after Hucclecote Meadows?
Neutral meadows need active conservation management. Gloucester City Council Countryside Unit is responsible for the traditional management and maintenance of the meadows on the Gloucester side of the M5. The Countryside Rangers hold a series of guided walks and events throughout the year.
Two more fields forming part of the SSSI may be found by crossing the bridge over the M5 motorway. These fields are outside the City boundary, one being in Tewkesbury Borough, and one in Stroud District. The management of these fields is currently overseen by Nicholas Pearson Associates, on behalf of the housing developers.
The area is traditionally managed by hay cutting in mid-summer after the plants have set seed. The site is then aftermath grazed in the autumn by rare-breed cattle. The reduction in nutrients through such management increases the competition between plant species, leading to a greater diversity of flora. The encroachment of scrub at the edges of the grassland is also addressed and invasive species such as Ragwort are pulled annually. Other habitat improvement works such as hedge laying and scrub clearance have been completed with the help of the active Friends of Hucclecote Meadows Working Group.
Friends of Hucclecote Meadows
The Friends of Hucclecote Meadows hold a work event on the 2nd Friday of each month to assist the Countryside Rangers with management of the site. If you would like to help with the management of the meadows please contact The Countryside Unit.
Countryside Unit - Robinswood Hill Country Park Reservoir Road Gloucester, GL4 6SX Tel: 01452 303 206