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Hunsdon Mead

67ac/27ha  SSSI

Grid ref: TL 421 114

Updated 31/12/2023.

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This area of common land between the River Stort and the Stort Navigation is one of the finest surviving areas of unimproved grassland in eastern England. For over 600 years it has been managed on the ancient Lammas system, under which it is grazed in late summer after a July hay cut.

It provides a superb display of flowering plants. In April and May it is yellow with cowslips and marsh marigolds. As May gives way to June plants such as yellow rattle, ragged robin, meadowsweet and bugle come into flower. There are small colonies of green-winged orchid and adderstongue fern. Quaking grass and several uncommon sedge species are present also.

In summer you can expect to see all the typical grassland butterflies and many dragonflies. During the winter, when the Mead floods, large flocks of lapwing and golden plover come to feed along with other winter visitors.


Follow the towpath from Roydon in the direction of Harlow – a walk of about one mile. The easiest parking is at Roydon station. SatNav: CM19 5EH.

Roydon station (Liverpool St–Cambridge).

Accessible at all times.

From mid-April until the end of June for flowers, and later in the summer for dragonflies and other insects.

Between March and July please do not walk across or into the Mead itself until the hay is cut: trampling damages the plants and reduces the value of the grass as hay for the farmer. During this period please keep to the towpath or walk in single file along the permissive path beside the River Stort.

© Glyn Baker