Know before you go
Parking informationPark near the T-junction directly opposite Great Lane, along part of the Viking Way
Grazing animalsLivestock may be present
The reserve lies in north-east Rutland, 1.5 km north of the village of Greetham and 1 km west of Stretton (on the AI). Park near the T-junction where Great Lane meets Thisleton Lane, along part of the Viking Way, then follow the track directly opposite Great Lane for about 400 metres to the reserve entrance, crossing from west to east of the hedge on the way. Access is via a stile, and please keep to the path.
When to visit
Opening timesAlways open
Best time to visitSpring
About the reserve
Merry’s Meadows is one of the best examples in Leicestershire and Rutland of a truly diverse meadow. Around Britain, we have lost 97% of our wildflower meadows, so this is now a precious habitat. Luckily, George Merry, who owned the meadows, was passionate about preserving this amazing site, and a lack of fertilisers and herbicides over the decades has meant that Merry’s Meadows is now a diverse, thriving habitat for flowers, grasses, fungi and insects.
A sunny day in late spring is the ideal time to visit, when many of the flowers are in bloom and insects will be making the most of the abundance of food. Birdsong will blast from the thick hedges. The air will literally be buzzing. The meadows have retained their ridge and furrow pattern, where cowslip, quaking-grass, green-winged orchid and adders-tongue grow on the ridges, and cuckooflower in the damper furrows. Common and heath spotted-orchids, fragrant orchid and the rare frog orchid are present – probably the only remaining site in the two counties for the frog orchid. Pepper-saxifrage, saw-wort, dropwort and a host of other herbs and grasses have been recorded.
In the ponds common and great crested newts have been found. Butterflies, which feed on the herbs, include small skipper, small heath, small copper and common blue. Chimney sweeper moths, which feed on pignut, are often abundant. Check back in the autumn to spot some fungi – up to four species of waxcap have been recorded in one year!