Area: 5.9 hectares.
Description and Reasons for Notification:
This site consists of a group of herb-rich meadows supporting representative examples of a type of neutral grassland which is rapidly declining in extent nationally, and which is now rare in Devon.
The site lies on the lower slopes of a small valley in East Devon near Axminster, on Triassic mudstones. The soils are alluvial and brown earth gleys, and are mostly freely draining.
The main plant community is characterised by the presence of common knapweed Centaurea nigra and crested dog’s-tail Cynosurus cristatus, with heath-grass Danthonia decumbens, devil’s-bit scabious Succisa pratensis and field wood-rush Luzula campestris.
A wide variety of other plant species are present including common twayblade Listera ovata, heath spotted-orchid Dactylorhiza maculata and an unusually diverse suite of sedges including glaucous sedge Carex flacca, spring-sedge C. caryophyllea, carnation sedge C. panicea, pale sedge C. pallescens and pill sedge C. pilulifera. Green-winged orchid Orchis morio, a very local plant in Devon, is present as is corky-fruited water-dropwort Oenanthe pimpinelloides, a nationally scarce species.
An area of marshy ground along the stream adds diversity to the site, being dominated by soft-rush Juncus effusus, meadowsweet Filipendula ulmaria and ragged-robin Lychnis flos-cuculi.
The central field, whilst supporting the same grassland community, is not as herb-rich as the remainder of the site, being dominated by Yorkshire-fog Holcus lanatus with crested dog’s-tail Cynosurus cristatus.