20110130_Warwickshire Wildlife Trust_Draycote Meadows SSSI

20110130_Warwickshire Wildlife Trust_Draycote Meadows SSSI

When : 30th January 2011

Who : Just Me

Where : Warwickshire to the south-west of Rugby

Maps : OS 1:25000 Explorer Map No. 222, Rugby & Daventry ….. Grid Ref. 448,706

Summary : Some info about Draycote Meadows SSSI, touched on during a circular walk including Frankton, Birdingbury Bridge, Draycote Village, Bourton-On-Dunsmore and return to Frankton. 

This is an addendum to my walks diary as there was quite a lot of extra info available on the path side information board and the following is a re-writing of the info … it’s easier than trying to read my photo …. of course it’d be even better to get out there and actually get a feel for the area and see it for yourself. 

I’m sure the info board sponsors Warwickshire Wildlife Trust will have no objection to me regurgitating their efforts; the info boards are in the public domain after all. 


Info’ board @ Grid Ref. 448,706

Draycote Meadows SSSI

One of a nationwide network of Wildlife Trust nature reserves

Near Draycote and Thurlaston Villages 

Please respect the meadows and their wildlife:

  • Leave nothing but footprints.
  • Take nothing but photographs.
  • Stay on the bridleway and paths round the edge of the first meadow.
  • Please keep quiet and enjoy what you can see and hear.
  • Keep dogs to the line of the bridleway.

Welcome to Draycote Meadows a 5.5 hectare Nature Reserve that has been designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest as the best example of unimproved grassland remaining in Warwickshire. The reserve consists of two wildflower meadows surrounded by ancient Hedgerows, a spring-fed stream with small areas of scrub and wet rushy grassland. 

Draycote Meadows owe their existence to medieval farming practices that created the distinctive ridge and furrow pattern on the landscape. The two meadows are a superb example of how our countryside used to be before twentieth century agricultural improvement. 

The wildflower display begins in April when cowslips cover the ridges, with lady’s smock in the damper areas. In May the meadows are at their most spectacular when thousands of green-winged orchids bloom. The display continues in summer with other flowers typical of old hay meadows such as common spotted orchid, yellow rattle and knapweed.  

Adders tongue fern is widespread and the reserve is the only site in Warwickshire where the rare moonwort fern is found. The diversity of flowers supports a range of insects including butterflies such as orange tip and small copper. 

In the 1840’s clay was dug to make bricks to build the nearby railway bridge. This has left a clay pit and mound, which can be seen just inside the entrance. The green-flowered twayblade, a species of orchid, grows here. 

Green-winged OrchidTo safeguard the diversity of wildflowers the traditional pattern of management is maintained whereby both meadows are cut for hay after the wildflowers have set seed and then grazed by cattle in the autumn.

Access to the first meadow is provided along the public bridleway. Access to the second meadow is restricted to the annual guided walk timed to view the green-winged orchids flowering in May. 


Warwickshire Wildlife Trust is the leading local environmental charity conserving wildlife and natural places throughout Warwickshire, Coventry and Solihul. As a membership organisation we need your support to help our work for nature conservation and the environment. 

We safeguard local wildlife by

  • Caring for over 55 nature reserves.
  • Campaigning for wildlife and the environment.
  • Working with schools and community groups.
  • Encouraging volunteers

If you would like information on membership or volunteering please contact us : 

Warwickshire Wildlife Trust, Brandon Marsh Nature Centre. Brandon Lane, Brandon, Coventry, CV3 3GW, Tel: 024 7630 2912, Email: admin@warkswt.cix.co.uk , www.warwickshire-wildlife-trust.org.uk , Registered charity 


And finally, a little more info’ from me ….

This is very close to the old Lias Line (disused Rugby-Leamington railway). Heading away north-east from here it passes under the A45, through the old Dunchurch Station to reach the new A4071 Rugby Western Relief Road at its southern end at Potford’s Dam. At the same time it also becomes part of a new nature reserve project just started-up by volunteers last year (2010) called Cawston Greenway. Roughly speaking, this will stretch from Potford’s Dam through to Lawford Lane/Bilton Lane alongside the new Cawston Grange Housing Estate on the outskirts of Rugby. Hopefully the work being done by the volunteer-group on Cawston Greenway will both benefit-from and compliment the established wildlife at Draycote Meadows. Maybe the route of the railway will become a green corridor for both humans and flora and fauna alike. 

The old railway between Draycote and Potford’s Dam is walkable already, but needs some work to bring it up to scratch, in particular the area under the A45 is pretty grotty. Also, very close by, the old Dunchurch station is almost always very wet underfoot …. but it is passable, especially with waterproof boots.  

I hope you enjoyed bothWarks Wildlife Trust’s  information and my scribblings ….

Oh, and one last thing; the links in the text above are what I’ve found on the internet, not noted on the “blurb” on the info’ board, just stuff I’ve found, so can’t vouch for anything on the other sites but they do seem genuine and as far as know accurate. I’ve no reason to distrust the info’.

T.T.F.N. Gary.

Associated posts :- Lias Line Sustrans 41 Info … and Frankton Circular Walk

Thanks to  my fellow flickr membersWalwyn and Andrew and John for use of their superb photo’s.


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