A number of threatened and rare plants also occur in floodplain meadows. Most well known is the snake’s head fritillary (Fritillaria meleagris), a beautiful species found on a handful of meadows in Southern England and the Midlands.
Looking at the pre-1950 distribution of fritillary compared to that of 1999 reveals a 38% decrease in the number of 10 km squares in which the species was recorded between those two dates.
The Floodplain Meadows Partnership has been recording the change in the population of snake’s head fritillary at North Meadow, Cricklade for 15 years. North Meadow holds the UK’s largest population of these stunning wildflowers and this count takes place at the time of peak flowering in mid April every year undertaken by a team of volunteers.
Watch our podcast on You Tube for all the action on the 2014 count, and if you would like to get involved in 2017 please contact us as we are always keen to hear from volunteers interested in this event. Read more about what we have found over the last 17 years.
You can also download our fritillary leaflet.
In 2012 we expanded our snakeshead fritillary counting exercise to two new sites (Lugg Meadows in Herefordshire, and Clattinger Farm, in Wiltshire). As it is likely that bumblebees are the main snakeshead fritillary pollinator and as they are declining in the wider countryside, we have teamed up with the Bumblebee Conservation Trust to try and establish bumblebee surveys on all three sites.
Snakeshead fritillary annual volunteer counts will take place in 2017 on the following dates:
Saturday 22nd April 2017, Lugg Meadows, Herefordshire
Sunday 23rd April 2017 Clattinger Farm, Wiltshire
Tuesday 25th April 2017 North Meadow Cricklade, Wiltshire
If you would like to take part in any of these activities (all are welcome) please contact us Floodplain-Meadows-Project@open.ac.uk
We cannot collect such an extensive amount of data without you, so please do get in touch and join in. We also need more volunteers to help with the bumblebee surveys. Training will be given and no previous experience is necessary. This is a lovely opportunity to come and sit in a fabulous meadow counting flowers and contributing to real scientific data collection. Send us an email (Floodplain-Meadows-Project@open.ac.uk) if you are interested and we will provide further details.
Here is a copy of the presentation from the workshop in February2016.
Other fritillary events
There are also a number of fritillary related events around the country run by a range of organisations and individuals and sites that are open for visitors. These are the ones we are aware of. Get out in April and enjoy the wonderful spectacle: