TYPE OF HABITAT
Unimproved grassland covering 4.6ha.
OS map ref . SX 4I3 707
From the A390, 2.5km (1.5 miles) west of Gunnislake, a public footpath from St Ann's Chapel to Honicombe runs along the edge of the reserve. Access is via a field gate or stile on the right of the path.
Like all Cornwall Wildlife Trust nature reserves, the meadow is open to the public, but it may occasionally be necessary to restrict access to the site when management is taking place. Dogs should be kept under control, and may be banned during grazing periods if the animals become unsettled. Please respect the meadow and its plant and animal communities by treading carefully, particularly during the summer months when most of the plants are in flower.
Sylvia's Meadow comprises four and a half hectares of unimproved herb-rich pasture - a very rare sight in the Cornish countryside. Part of Hingston Down heathland, it survived the plough through a military camp being sited on it during the Second World WarLack of disturbance since then has led to the survival of many heathland plants and the diversity of meadow flowers, including seven kinds of orchid. It is one of the most important meadows for nature conservation in Cornwall.
SPECIES OF PARTICULAR INTEREST
Some of the plants to be found in the meadow include lesser butterfly orchid, autumn ladies tresses, sneezewort,yellow rattle and bird's foot trefoil. Butterflies that may be seen include the wall, orange tip, dingy skipper and common blue, and reptile sightings include the common lizard and slow worm.
It is necessary to graze the meadow to prevent the more interesting and rare plants from being overwhelmed by coarse grasses, scrub and bramble. Ponies are usually used for this task. Other management that takes place from time to time includes fencing and bracken control.
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