Asham Meadow is a traditional Lammas meadow located on the River Avon near the village of Birlingham in Worcestershire. Between 2009 and 2010, KCT purchased two wide strips of the meadow, totalling 13.9 acres (5.6 ha).
Lammas meadows are a rare type of flood meadow with a unique management system. Traditionally, farmers grow hay from spring until late summer in individually-owned strips. After Lammas Day (1st August), cattle and sheep belonging to all of the owners graze the meadow ‘in common’. This type of management, which has been unchanged for centuries, allows rich communities of plants and animals to develop and flourish. Flood meadows were once common in the Severn and Avon vales, but most have now been lost due to agricultural improvement.
Asham Meadow is still managed in the traditional way, with hay cut in July followed by cattle and sheep grazing – weather and river levels permitting.
Flora and Fauna
There are a number of scarce plants growing in the meadow including fine-leaved water dropwort. Scarce wading birds, including curlew and redshank, breed in the long grass at the margins of the meadow, while skylarks nest in the shorter grass. The rich vegetation provides habitat for a host of invertebrates. A number of bat species, including noctule, forage over the meadow on summer nights.
OS grid reference: SO 9236 4236
Asham Meadow is defined as Access Land under the Countryside and Rights of Way (CROW) Act 2000, and as such, the public has right to walk over it responsibly, subject to common sense restrictions such as not damaging the hay crop. Dogs are not permitted during the nesting season (1 March to 31 July) or at any other time near livestock unless they are kept on a fixed lead of no more than 2 metres long. A public footpath (BL-521) crossing the meadow provides the most convenient access when vegetation is tall.
The best time to visit Asham is in early summer when the meadow is flowering and before the hay is cut. Skylarks sing overhead while bees and butterflies ceaselessly seek out nectar.