Earlier this week we visited this Nature Reserve at Cricklade in Wiltshire. This meadow is renowned for it's abundance of snakeshead fritillaries growing wild in the traditional hay meadow. It is said that 80% of the UK population of these rare flowers occur just here.
We have visited this meadow before, on a couple of occasions during some of our Thames Path walks, but this was the first time that we've been there at a time when the fritillaries were in flower.
We were not disappointed with our visit, as the flowers were abundant this year. Last year, due to the cold and damp spring, it was not possible for the meadow to be mowed and the flowers did not appear.
They are quite delicate little flowers, some are white and some are purple...
...and their presence is perhaps not immediately obvious....
... until you look across the meadow from a low angle.
Close-up they are gorgeous.
Every year the plants are counted and measured. Here are volunteers in the distance carrying out this task, whilst the church tower in Cricklade can be seen in the distance.
They really are remarkable flowers, and you can clearly see how they get their name from this picture.
It is not just the fritillaries that grow in the meadow - there are countless other species too.
Lovely cowslips here.
It is well worth a visit. I would recommend it. You can find out more here: http://www.crickladeinbloom.co.uk/fritillary_watch.html