Upton Ham is a large expanse of seasonally-flooded grassland lying between the town of Upton-upon-Severn and the River Severn. Natural England has designated it a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) for its rich and distinctive flora. Between 2009 and 2014, KCT purchased seven strategic sections of the ham totalling 17.9 acres (7.3 ha).
Upton Ham is not strictly a Lammas meadow (see Asham Meadow) as it was subject to Enclosure in the late 19th Century. However, it is managed in comparable way, being shut up for hay over the summer and grazed in the autumn.
Flora and Fauna
Upton Ham is classified as ‘MG4’ grassland and its distinctive flora includes meadow foxtail, mousetail, meadow vetchling, meadow saffron and great burnet (the latter being particularly characteristic of this type of meadow). The nationally scarce species narrow-leaved water-dropwort is also found here. The ham provides breeding habitat for wading birds such as curlew and redshank. In winter, large numbers of snipe feed in the wet grassland. The rare club-tailed dragonfly can be found along the river’s edge.
OS grid reference: SO 8580 4040
Upton Ham is not Access Land under the CROW Act, and there is no general public access over the ham. However, public footpaths run beside the river and across the ham (UU-553 / 550 / 551), which may be easily accessed from Dunns Lane and Minge Lane in the town of Upton.
The best times to visit Upton Ham are May and June when the flowers are at their peak and the meadow is alive with insects. Mute swans drift by serenely on the river and curlews call out over the wide grasslands.