pensthorpe wildflower meadow

Wildflower Meadow

Listen to the sound of buzzing wildlife

Situated in the floodplain of the River Wensum, this traditionally managed wildflower meadow plays an important role in the ecology of the river valley.

Species-rich wildflower meadows are an important habitat, providing the perfect hunting ground for barn owls, and acting as a haven for bees, dragonflies, banded demoiselle damselflies and butterflies. This natural wildlife walk is a very special place and can literally buzz with insects creating an attractive foraging location for bats and birds. With its diverse selection of wildflowers, our Wildflower Meadow is one of the largest wildflower meadows in Norfolk and was used as a base for BBC2’s Great British Garden Revival and was home to the famous harvest mouse who starred in BBC’s Planet Earth Two series. Even during the autumn months, when the wildflowers are long-gone, it is a delight to wander the nature trail over the boardwalk and watch the rare breed Norfolk Long Horn Sheep, who are used to graze the meadow after it has been mown.

Only a small fraction of the once common wildflower meadows now remain in the UK, increased use of herbicides and changes in grassland management have proven disastrous for this key habitat. From the boardwalk you can enjoy more than 80 different species of grasses and flowers including ragged robin, marsh valerian, yellow rattle, greater bird’s-foot trefoil and southern marsh orchid. The meadow is cut in the autumn with all cuttings removed then grazed by Norfolk Horn sheep.

Venture beyond the Wildflower Meadow towards the estate’s ancient woodlands where, each year for a short window of time, between April and May you will stumble upon a blanket of bluebells in one of our best kept secrets – the Bluebell Wood.