at High Beeches is probably the best in the
south of England. The meadow has been a meadow for at least 150 years and probably
for longer. There are at least 45 wildflowers
and 12 grasses growing in the meadow all attracting a huge variety of insects.
the moment are Leucanthemum vulgare
(Oxeye Daisy), Dactylorhiza fuchsii (Common Spotted-orchid), Listera ovata (Common Twayblade), Lotus cornicula (Common Bird's-foot-trefoil) and most importantly Rhianthus minor (Yellow Rattle). Yellow Rattle is parasitic on grass which weakens the grasses and allows the wildflowers to flourish. It is most often found in unimproved meadows. This year there are
many Listera ovata, hard to spot among the grasses but an elegant member of the orchid family.
The meadow is easy to manage here at High Beeches. It is cut in late August and the hay removed and then the Heavy Horses from the Working Horse Trust harrow the meadow to remove the thatch and open the sward to help the wild flower seed to germinate. Nothing is
added to it and some seed is taken off it to
spread the seed into an adjoining area.
For more information on wildflower meadows see Plant Life, Magnificent Meadows and Kew.