Hunsdon Mead Nature Reserve

Hunsdon Mead Nature Reserve

A superb flood meadow owned jointly by Essex, Herts & Middx Wildilfe Trust. This 68 acre of is one of the finest surviving areas of unimproved grassland in Eastern England and provides a superb display of flowering plants.

Location

Hunsdon Mead
Nature Reserve
Roydon
A static map of Hunsdon Mead Nature Reserve

Know before you go

Size
28 hectares

Walking trails

Visitors are advised to keep to the marked tracks so to avoid disturbing the hay tracks. Please do not walk across or into the Mead itself until the hay is cut.

Access

Yes

Dogs

Dogs permitted

When to visit

Opening times

Accessible at all times

Best time to visit

April to July

About the reserve

This 68 acre of common land between the River Stort and the Stort Navigation is one of the finest surviving areas of unimproved grassland in Eastern England. The Hertfordshire & Middlesex and Essex Wildlife Trusts acquired it jointly in 1981. What to look for: The Mead provides a superb display of flowering plants. In April and May it is yellow with cowslips and marsh marigolds. As May gives way to June colours change continually, as plants such as yellow rattle, ragged robin, lady's smock, meadowsweet, bugle and many others flower in profusion. There are small colonies of green-winged orchid and adder's-tongue fern. Quaking grass and several uncommon sedge species are also present. All the typical butterflies of hay meadow occur and the day-flying small yellow underwing moth is also established. Mayflies and dragonflies are much in evidence. During the winter, when the Mead floods, large flocks of lapwing and golden plover come to feed along with other winter migrants. Accessible at all times. Between March and July please do not walk across or into the Mead itself until the hay is cut; trampling damages the plants and reduces the value of the grass as hay for the farmer. During this period please keep to the towpath or walk in single file along the permissive path beside the River Stort. Directions - Follow the Stort navigation towpath from Roydon in the direction of Harlow - a walk of about one mile. The easiest parking is at Roydon station. Public Transport - Roydon railway station (Liverpool Street-Cambridge line) Did you know? For over 600 years Hunsdon Mead has been managed on the ancient Lammas system under which it is grazed by cattle or sheep after a July hay cut. It is this which accounts for its abundance of wildlife.

Contact us

Essex Wildlife Trust
Contact number: 01621 862960
Contact email: admin@essexwt.org.uk

Environmental designation

Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI)