Brockwells Meadows Nature Reserve, Monmouthshire


★★★★

Cherry Tree Field
Six spot burnet moth

Four farm fields containing a good range of calcareous grassland plants, plus a few notable insect species; in a shallow valley near Caldicot
Location
Along Dewstow Road, south of Caerwent; NP26 5AJ
Photo Tour (14 images)
Brockwell Meadows is a 12 acre nature reserve near Caldicot in south Monmouthshire, comprising four fields, in a shallow depression bordered by a wooded ridge to the north; not an especially scenic location, but notable for its calcareous grassland, which supports a large number of wildflowers. The meadows are cut for hay towards the end of July, so are only worth visiting for the three or four months prior to this, when the flowers are in bloom. Over 70 plant species have been identified as growing here, none especially uncommon but including several types of orchid, and such limestone-favouring species as cowslip, yellow wort, salad burnet, field scabious, greater knapweed and yellow rattle. Three less common species are large wild thyme, green-winged orchid and autumn ladies tresses.

Three of the four fields are also a site of special scientific interest, since they constitute a fine example of undisturbed pasture above limestone bedrock. There are also a few notable insect species found here, such as the green bush cricket and hornet robberfly.




Location


Although just outside Caldicot, the nature reserve is separated from town by the M48 - access is along Dewstow Road, south of Caerwent, turning west on a lesser route and parking just beyond the junction at the entrance to Brockwells Farm, where there is space for a couple of vehicles. This location is immediately north of Dewstow Golf Course. Entrance to the reserve is through the field excluded from the SSSI, since this contains relatively few wildflowers, then from here two gates lead to the largest field (Banky Field), to the west and Little Bank Field to the north, which in turn leads to Cherry Tree Field to the northeast. All fields are occupied by cattle at some times of the year. Wildflowers are found all across the three main fields, with rarer species scattered evenly, not concentrated in any one location. The best views are to the northeast, down the valley towards the Severn Estuary.

Common blue butterfly
Common blue butterfly