Old 'ridge and furrow' meadows thick with wild flowers and grasses - a link to our natural and agricultural past.

Location

3 miles south-east of
Buckingham
Buckinghamshire
MK17 0NX

OS Map Reference

SP749321
A static map of Pilch Field

Know before you go

Size
12 hectares

Entry fee

No

Parking information

Take A421 east from Buckingham; after 3 miles, take the road on the right towards Great Horwood; park on soft verge near sharp left-hand bend. Reserve is on the right beside the footpath.

Grazing animals

Yes

Access

Sloping; uneven ground, soft after rain; gate

Dogs

On a lead

When to visit

Opening times

Open at all times

Best time to visit

March to August

About the reserve

Centuries old

Pilch Field is made up of two wet meadows and a small triangular field. Surrounded by fine hedgerows with ash standards, the site also includes a patch of scrub. Ancient ridge and furrow plough marks can still be seen in many old meadows and pastures such as these Buckinghamshire grasslands. Once the ploughed lands were returned to pasture, the wild flowers would have reappeared in the absence of modern weedkillers and fertilisers.

Flushes of wildlife

Wet 'flushes' are fed by water seeping through the soil. In spring, clumps of marsh-marigold mark the damper soil. Rushes, sedges and wetland wild flowers such as meadowsweet, marsh valerian and the early marsh-orchid flourish here. 

Meadow marvels

Hundreds of green-winged orchids, once a common sight in meadows such as these, appear in early May, growing along the tops of the ridges. They are followed by common spotted orchids in June. There are plenty of butterflies, grasshoppers and other insects. Look out for the ant-hills made by the yellow meadow ant.

Hedgerow haven

The bordering hedgerows are alive with warblers. Other birds of interest include yellowhammer, reed bunting and overwintering snipe. Look out for brown hares - their larger size, long legs and black-tipped ears distinguish them from rabbits.

Reserve champions - supporting their favourite reserve

Dr & Mrs W.R. Tunnicliffe: "Simply magical!"

 

Contact us

Berks, Bucks & Oxon Wildlife Trust (BBOWT)
Contact number: 01442 826774
Contact email: info@bbowt.org.uk

Environmental designation

Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI)