Grassland, Parkland & Meadows

With the rivers Frome, Brue and Stour rising within the area and the heavy clay soils of the valleys, it is unsurprising that the most common grassland historically would have been lowland meadows. Much of this grassland would be very wet during the winter with rushes growing in the wet flushes. With agricultural improvement, including land drainage the meadow habitats which remain are very fragmented and species-poor. However, you still can find meadows rich in ladies smock, greater trefoil and yellow with meadow buttercup in early summer.

To the south around Shepton Montague where the underlying geology is limestone and the soils are shallow there are small areas of limestone grassland, these areas dry quickly without rain allowing plants such as birds foot trefoil, mouse-eared-hawkweed and ladies bedstraw to compete with the grasses, especially on the steeper areas.

Up under the greensand ridge where the soils are more acid there are still small areas of lowland heathland with purple moor-grass and gorse. These can form part of a complicated mosaic of open woodland, gorse scrub and even ponds.