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Mill Crook and Grafton Regis Meadow

Traditional hay meadows form an oasis for wildlife in a sea of agriculture

These are the last remaining fragments of traditional hay meadows once frequent in this part of the Tove Valley. Their status as Nature Reserves now protects them from modern intensive farming. Still showing evidence of medieval ridge-and-furrow cultivation, Mill Crook in summer is a sea of wildflowers, including pepper-saxifrage, meadowsweet, bog stitchwort, meadow vetchling and great burnet. It is also alive with insects including orange-tip and meadow brown butterflies and five-spot burnet moth.

Among the attractive grasses, such as quaking-grass and meadow foxtail, you will find yellow rattle, an indicator species of old grassland. This semi-parasite attaches itself to the roots of other species and its ripe seeds rattle inside the fruiting head, hence its name. Look out for kingfishers, nesting along the banks of the River Tove, and listen for the distinctive 'coor-loo' calls of curlews. Lapwing, long-tailed tit, bullfinch, yellowhammer and wren are frequent visitors to these reserves.

Mill Crook reserver map

 

The map below is for indication purposes only and does not show the Wildlife Trusts definitive land boundary.

Nearby nature reserves

Stoke Bruerne Brick Pits
3 miles - Wildlife Trust for Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Northamptonshire
Little Linford Wood
4 miles - Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire Wildlife Trust
Foxcote Reservoir
7 miles - Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire Wildlife Trust

Nature reserve map

Contains Ordnance Survey data © Crown copyright and database right 2012. For indicative purposes does not show exact boundaries.

Reserve information

Location
Grafton Regis, 9 miles from
Northampton
Northamptonshire
MK19 6BG
Map reference
Mill Crook: SP 771 463 Grafton Regis: SP 765 466
Best time to visit
May - Jun
Get directions
Find out here
Public transport
Plan your journey
Opening Times
Open at all times
Size
7.90 hectares
Access
Yes

Parking
Grafton Regis: park on grass verge on left near canal bridge. Mill Crook: contact the Northamptonshire office before your planned visit to obtain advice and details on access to this site
Dogs
Dogs must be on lead
Grazing animals
yes
Reserve manager
Tel: 01604 405285
northamptonshire@wildlifebcn.org