Barton Meadows in Bloom

Barton Meadows Nature Reserve

Barton Meadows nature reserve is in full bloom, and this year ox-eye daisies have stolen the show.

Barton Meadows is a nature reserve that’s full of surprises. Hampshire & Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust began managing the site in Winchester back in 2017, when it was a neglected patch of arable farmland with little value for wildlife. Since then we have been reverting the meadows to their former flower-rich glory, and the results have been spectacular.

Last year, beautiful deep red poppies sprung up all over the nature reserve, creating a striking blanket of scarlet across the meadows.  This was a surprise to everyone, including ourselves. We had scattered wildflower seeds around the reserve, but had not planted poppies. We were amazed at the number of seeds that must have been lying dormant beneath the earth, waiting for an opportunity to show their colours.

Barton meadows after reseeding

© Martin de Retuerto

This year, ox-eye daisies have stolen the show. The scarlet blooms of 2018 have been usurped by thousands of bright white flowers, each with a rich, butter-yellow centre. Together they create a stunning sight, and the local bees and butterflies are revelling in the abundance of pollen. Other plant species such as meadow buttercup and birdsfoot trefoil add to the vibrant display of colour.

Bumblebee at Barton Meadows

Bumblebee at Barton Meadows

Barton Meadows nature reserve was conceived during the planning process of the Kings Barton housing development in Winchester, and represents a significant achievement for the Trust. The meadows provide space for wildlife displaced by the development, and serve as a relaxing green space for local residents to enjoy.  

Barton Meadows is also an important ‘corridor’ for wildlife in Winchester. Its close proximity to Winnall Moors nature reserve creates a wider landscape in which wildlife can travel, contributing to a more joined up network for nature.

Skylarks, yellowhammers and linnets thrive at this nature reserve, and the diversity of insect life is particularly special. We have seen an abundance of insects this summer, including marbled white butterflies, cinnabar moth caterpillars, red-tailed bumblebees and common red soldier beetles.

If you are visiting Winchester this summer, stop by at Barton Meadows. Take a seat, admire the rolling landscape and see the stunning display of wildflowers in all their floristic glory. We challenge you not to feel inspired.