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Draycote Meadows

Two species-rich hay meadows and pasture

These picturesque traditional hay meadows are the 'creme de la creme' of remaining unimproved grassland found in Warwickshire today. 

There are hints of the meadow's ancient origins as you can spot the ridge and furrow markings. They are managed traditionally as hay meadows, with their crops cut in late July and then grazed by cattle in the autumn.


What's it like to visit?

Be wowed by waves of buttercup, cowslip, meadow vetchling and yellow rattle. Twenty species of grass form a sea of tawny green with bursts of colour. Thousands of flower spikes enchant visitors every year. The southern meadow contains a wide range of plants including the inconspicuous adder’s tongue fern. 


What might you spot?

Both meadows are renowned for spectacular displays of green-winged orchid, indicating the undisturbed antiquity of the site. Even rare moonwort is recorded in this meadow, its only known location in Warwickshire.


Butterflies are abundant, with small copper and common blue dancing across the meadows and along the hedgerows. On an autumn fungi foray produce an amazing list of fungi, with an impressive dozen species of waxcap alone. Other distinctive fungi include white and smokey spindles and meadow coral. 


The stream is fed by spring-water helping brooklime, lesser water-parsnip and meadowsweet thrive on its margins. The hedgerows contain English elm, blackthorn and wild privet mingled with ivy and dog-rose. Occasional specimens of oak, ash and wild cherry add further diversity.


A good range of birds nest and roost in the trees and hedgerow, including nuthatch, great spotted and green woodpeckers. Redwing and fieldfare relish the reserve in winter months.


Dunchurch Meadow

Draycote Meadow is also linked to Dunchurch Meadow, a site of just under 3ha. In summer 2014 enhancement work began with green hay spreading. The hay was harvested from the donor Draycote Meadow and was strewn on a hot summer's day by hand by a team of Warwickshire Wildlife Trust volunteers and staff.


Over 2000 plug plants were planted at Dunchurch Meadow in 2015. 


Read the blog post about how work began at Dunchurch Meadows back in 2014. 



Nearby nature reserves

Cock Robin Wood
3 miles - Warwickshire Wildlife Trust
Windmill Spinney
3 miles - Warwickshire Wildlife Trust
Tasker's Meadow
4 miles - Warwickshire Wildlife Trust

Nature reserve map

Reserve information

4 miles south west of Rugby, just north of Draycote village. The reserve is off the B4453 near to the A45 London Road interchange
CV23 9RB
Map reference
SP 448 706
Great for...
spring flowers
Best time to visit
Mar - Nov
Get directions
Find out here
Public transport
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Opening Times
Open at all times
5.50 hectares

Well-trodden grass path through the middle of the meadow and a less well-trodden path skirting the reserve up to the stream.
Walking information
Visitors are advised to keep to the reserve boundaries and stay on footpaths to avoid trampling the rare flowers. Access to the northern meadow is restricted to organised events only.
Small area of parking in front of the gate at the reserve entrance
Dogs must be on lead
Grazing animals
Cattle Aug - Dec
Reserve manager
Karl Curtis
Tel: 02476 302912 from reserve pages