Cathedral Meadows

The Cathedral Meadows are a perfect place to be quiet and enjoy the countryside.  They consist of 30 acres (12 hectares) of hay and wildflower meadow on the north side of Church Lane and between the English Heritage chapel ruins to the west and the disused railway line to the east.  They can be accessed from Church Lane or through the chapel ruins and offer some lovely views across the River Wensum valley.  Everyone is welcome to come and enjoy the meadows.

The meadows were purchased by the Parish Council in 1995 with the help of a grant from Breckland Council and a long-term loan.  Former hedgerows were reinstated, and re-seeding took place with funding from the Wensum Valley Project.  The newly-created fields entered into a Countryside Stewardship Scheme run by the Countryside Commission and through an agreement with English Heritage the meadows are run together with the Chapel ruins as a single countryside access scheme.

Today the meadows provide a great habitat for wildlife as well as for human enjoyment.  A small team of volunteers have been surveying the wildlife since April 2018 and have found a wealth of interesting species living there.  The list is ever-growing but in the first six months of the survey they have identified over 900 different types of bird, animal, insect, flower, tree and other kinds of wildlife.  A few examples are shown below, but if you’re interested in seeing more this link provides a summary of some of the most interesting wildlife found at the meadows month by month.

Look out for Yellowhammers in the hedgerows – they are a declining bird, but we still have quite a few here at the meadows.

It is possible to see many different species of butterfly and moth at the meadows, like this colourful Orange-tip for example.

The Small Yellow Underwing is a day-flying moth that is quite unusual, but we have a thriving population in the meadows.

There are some beautiful wildflowers growing at the meadows.  The wildflower meadow (the small field on the left at the bottom of the track just before you reach the railway) is one of the better places to find them in early summer and the display of Musk Mallow in this field is fantastic.

Everyone in the village is welcome to visit the meadows and you are encouraged to wander round and note down the wildlife that you see.  We would be interested to hear what you find and to see any photos you are able to take.  Please get in touch with elmhamweb@gmail.com and we will pass on your sightings to the survey team.

You can also follow us on Twitter @ElmhamMeadows – see below for our most recent tweets.