Seven Fields

Seven Fields Conservation Group is a local community, voluntary group committed to the conservation of the Seven Fields Nature Reserve, North Swindon.

As per its description Seven Fields, is made up of seven individual fields that are rich in wildlife and has some of the best wildflower meadows in Wiltshire, with ancient hedgerows, stream, and a magnificent Wild Service Tree and Penhill Copse (ancient woodland). It received a Local Nature Reserve Designation in 1995.

The area is popular amongst dog walkers, families having picnics or playing sports. In the neighbouring parish’s side of Seven Fields there are playing fields and a play area. The area is beautiful in all weathers spring, summer, autumn and winter.

The Council is responsible for emptying the litter bins and cutting the desire lines in the peak months. The Council also has some volunteers that litter pick the area frequently and has a good relationship with the Conservation Group to ensure that the upkeep is well maintained.

Below is a description of the fields.

Spring Field and Long Meadow

These two are the best wildflower meadows at Seven Fields, over 200 species of flowers, grasses, etc., grow throughout the year. The meadows are cut for hay once a year, in late summer and the hay is taken away, this means that the meadows are not enriched and allows the weaker species of wildflower to bloom freely. Mid- summer is the best time to see the meadows when they are an array of Ox Eye Daises, Vetches, Ladies Bedstraw, Yellow Rattle, Scabious, Restharrow and Marsh, Pyramidal and Bee Orchids. Each year something new is discovered.

Chequers and Twin Ponds

Now a cycle way and play area, Twin Ponds (Elsham Way) surface had ridge and furrow contours, not nearly so deep as Furrow Field, these were caused by the old method of dividing a field into Furlongs, each of which would be worked by one man, very much like our leisure gardens of today, except in those days their livelihood depended upon it. ‘Chequers’ is named for the Wild Service Tree, Chequers being its folk name, it is believed that this is because the seeds have a chequered appearance, there are many theories about the name.

Bridle Track & Half Moon Ground

Along the bottom of Half Moon Ground is the Bridle Path, described in documents dated 1796 as a Bridle Road and Footpath 15 ft wide. By the Kissing Gate at the Westerly end are a row of Crack Willow, before they were pollarded a walk on a windy day helped discover why they are so called, and they often ‘cracked’ and shed branches. On the other side of the Kissing Gate, in Greenmeadow were once twin ponds, now filled in and built upon.

Event Field/Cemetery Field

Event Field, the importance of this meadow has also been recognised, and now that Seven Fields has received the Statutory Designation of Local Nature Reserve, it was felt inappropriate to provide space for events. Each year a football pitch size is cut to enable local youngsters to play ball games and provide room for picnicking. An early Orchid has been spotted in both fields.

Haydon Brook

Haydon Brook rises near the junction of the Bridle Track and Whitworth Road, joined by another rising from under the Cemetery and is fed by land water from the surrounding estates runs westwardly eventually to the River Ray and then the Thames. Its banks are rich with plant life including Figwort, Garlic Mustard and Wild Angelica. Stickle backs, Voles, frogs can be seen.

Pickets

Before the planners allowed this to become an informal play area and drainage work was implemented, this interesting little field had not been managed as the others and proved a valuable exception to the rule of Hay Meadow Management. It had not returned to scrub as would be expected, but flowered year after year with the wildflowers herbs, of Self Heal, Ladies Bed Straw and Meadowsweet. In the Hedgerows are a Pear tree and an Apple tree.

Penhill Copse/Parish Boundary Hedgerow

From the Copse to the Kissing Gate is the Old Parish Boundary Hedgerow, containing a wide variety of trees, shrubs and ground flora indicating its antiquity, especially on its western hedge towards the development at Abbey Meads, Towards the Kissing Gate are rare small leaved lime trees.

Furrow Field

What a Field! Everyone should feel privileged to walk across it. Examples of well preserved and prominent relict medieval landscape such as this Ridge and Furrow Field are now very rare, which is why it has been saved as Open Space. The widths of the Furrows indicate that the last time this field was ploughed was with an Ox-drawn Plough, not used in this country for over 200 years.

Lark Meadow

Though not so interesting as the other meadows, Lark Meadow wants to revert to the Hawthorn Thicket it probably was in the past, this can be clearly seen by the growth of Hawthorn alongside the bridle track, which came naturally when the hay was not taken from that part of the field.

New Path – Northern Banks – The Trenches

In 1989 the Seven Fields Conservation Group and friends planted 2000 trees and shrubs along the slopes, and realised the potential for the existing ‘desire line’ which could not be used during summer – because of the nettles and brambles – and in winter because of the mud.

Underwood and The Seeds

Now lost to housing development, however all hedgerows, considered valuable, were retained as wildlife corridors.

Explore our latest news