View of long grass backed by a small lake and trees on the horizon

The Scrape at Motcombe Meadows. Photo: Peter Cooper

In 2006, Motcombe Meadows were handed over to Motcombe Village by Bloor Homes and since then have been owned and managed by Motcombe Parish Council, guided by a long-term management plan, initially developed by the Dorset Wildlife Trust but with subsequent additional input from Richard Belding of Butterfly Conservation. Over and above light maintenance, the plan provides for a late summer cut of hay which is undertaken by a local farmer. In addition more than a thousand native woodland trees, provided by the Woodland Trust, have been planted together with an orchard of 50 traditional fruit tree varieties. In one field an area has been set aside with ‘deer-proof’ fencing for 32 allotments and in another field a ‘scrape’ has been dug to attract wildfowl. Two Barn Owl boxes were added in 2011 with help from the Dorset Rangers.

In 2012, the Meadows became part of the ‘Fields in Trust’ scheme, thus ensuring that they remain a recreational and conservation facility for the village in perpetuity.

Over and above regular butterfly recording since 2012, several other surveys have been completed, namely a botanical survey (2012 by Bill Shreeves and U3A), a moth survey (2104, 2015 & 2016 by Lawrie De Whalley) and a dragonfly / damselfly survey (2018 by Gavin Shreeves). A bat survey by Jan Freeborn was initiated in 2018 and is ongoing.

Habitat and features

Motcombe Meadows lie on heavy clay soil and are comprised of 10.5 ha of unimproved wetland meadow, sub-divided into four fields by old and broad hedgerows in which Blackberry, Blackthorn, Oak sp., Elm sp., Hazel and Ash are prominent. The area is bisected by a brook, a tributary of the River Stour, which is inhabited by water voles and stickleback.

What to see

Butterflies

Purple Hairstreak, White-letter Hairstreak, Essex Skipper, Small Copper, Orange Tip, Marbled White, Brown Argus.

Moths

(Day-flying) Forester, Five Spot Burnet, Cinnabar, Silver Y, Green Carpet, Burnet Companion, Ruby Tiger, Yellow Shell.

Other species

Birds: Common Buzzard, Kestrel, Barn Owl, Grey Heron, Greater Spotted and Green Woodpecker. Mammals: Roe deer, Fox, Badger, Common and Soprano Pipistrelle Bats.

Photo gallery

TIP Click thumbnails to view full-size images.

Ownership

Motcombe Parish Council