Know before you go
Parking informationParking available by church
Waymarked route through the reserve, please keep to the track
Hand gate leads west over mown grass paths, heading south on the route there is a bridge which is not wheelchair accessible, heading north back to the hand gate there is another small bridge with no ramps
When to visit
Opening timesOpen at all times
Best time to visitApril to July
About the reserve
These old pasture fields lie on the floor of the Ancaster Gap on sands and gravels carried from the Trent Valley through the gap in the limestone by glacial overflow waters. A small stream intersects the reserve, which is mostly low-lying and wet, although the land rises a little on the north side to give better drained and drier conditions.
The low areas have a rich, wet meadow and marsh flora with a variety of grasses, sedges and rushes and wildflowers such as marsh arrowgrass, ragged robin, marsh valerian, devil's-bit scabious, adder's-tongue and an abundance of marsh and spotted-orchids. The drier areas have a similarly varied flora including dropwort, meadow saxifrage and the distinctive inland sub-species of thrift Armeria maritima elongata. This rare thrift, with long stems, formerly occurred on a number of sites on the old Lincoln Heath extending into Leicestershire, but is now confined in Britain to the reserve and the nearby graveyard. The ecological interest of the reserve is further enhanced by the stream (where there are old pollarded willows) and by large hedges with a variety of trees and shrubs.
Traditional management by grazing with cattle is being continued in order to maintain the richness and interest of the site.
Nearest postcode NG32 3PL. Please note - postcodes are for the nearest registered address as we are unable to get postcodes for nature reserves.
At the south end of Ancaster is the crossroads of the A153 Sleaford-Grantham road and Ermine Street. A short distance west of the crossroads, along the main road, a lane turns right and passes the west end of the church. The reserve entrance gate is reached on foot on the left after about 500 yards.