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South Close Field

This small reserve is one of the best lowland meadows in the area and includes old grassland, a small area of hazel coppice and the banks of Riding Mill Burn. A small man-made pond is good for breeding amphibians. Common woodland birds are present in and around the site and the grassland is also good for butterflies

In early summer the field is a colourful display with yellow rattle covering large parts of the open grassland. Yellow rattle is a parasite on grass and helps to suppress it allowing flowering herbs to thrive. The meadow contains a mix of flora including yellow oat-grass, cowslip, bird's-foot trefoil, oxeye daisy and agrimony. There are a few areas of more rank grassland vegetation with cow parsley and dock, which get an additional cut in the year. The field is particularly good for grassland butterflies such as meadow brown and skippers. Exmoor ponies are used to graze the field after the hay has been cut and removed. The grazing and the hoof action on the soil helps seed germination and improves herb growth. A very small pond (created in 1979) exists in the middle of the grassland area and is used by large red damselflies. A small wet flush near the top of the meadow contains rush. The coppiced area contains some ash with a mostly hazel understorey. Ground flora contains bluebell, wild garlic and dog's mercury. Golden saxifrage and water avens are amongst the species closer to the river.


Nearby nature reserves

Juliet's Wood
3 miles - Northumberland Wildlife Trust
Whittle Dene
5 miles - Northumberland Wildlife Trust
Priestclose Wood
6 miles - Northumberland Wildlife Trust

Nature reserve map

Reserve information

South of Riding Mill
Riding Mill
Map reference
NZ 012 612
Best time to visit
Apr - Jul
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Opening Times
1.80 hectares

Please see downloadable Access Information for the reserve below.
Walking information
Continue up the lane to the reserve at the end.
There is parking near the bridge, in the lay-by opposite Marchburn House.
Dogs must be on lead
Grazing animals
Reserve manager
Northumberland Wildlife Trust
Tel: (0191) 284 6884


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