I had a wonderful visit to Iffley Meadows this week, where we found beautiful wet meadows full of snake's-head fritillaries. They're under the protection of BBOWT, so the meadows are carefully managed to provide the perfect conditions for the plants to thrive.
Iffley Meadows fritillaries
In stark comparison, I decided to check on the Ford fraucups earlier in the week. It's an unmanaged site (just a few plants by the side of the road) that is barely hanging on. Not so any years ago the village was famous around here for it's meadows full of fraucups, the local name for the plants, and people would travel from miles to visit the fields on Fraucup Sunday. These days the fields have been drained and grazed and lack any sort of wild flowers, let alone snake's-head fritillaries. There is one little patch of grass though, on the side of the road, that has a couple of plants remaining.
Last year we found two flowers and this year there were three, but only two plants. They're so precious and so precarious ...
... makes you wonder just how long they can survive there.