Fivehead Fields IPA

Location: East of Taunton, and 1.5 km south west of the village of Fivehead, off the A378 from Taunton to Langport.

Grid Reference: ST 337 225

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Fivehead Fields has been owned and managed by Somerset Wildlife Trust since 1992. The 10 hectare site is located between the villages of Curry Mallet and Fivehead. Due to its rich flora of rare and scarce arable plants, the fields are designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).

Although at one time very common, arable wildflowers have declined dramatically in recent years due to intensive agricultural practices.This site has one of the most important communities of these plants in Britain.The gentle, south-facing slope of fertile, calcareous clay soil supports a wide variety of arable wildflowers which are now rare in Britain.

Fivehead Fields supports a large population of the rare broad-fruited cornsalad – only ten such sites are known in Britain.The nationally scarce Shepherd’s needle, corn parsley and corn buttercup which have suffered substantial declines can also be seen.

Spreading pernicious weeds and difficulties working with the fields’ heavy soils caused initial problems. These have largely been overcome, and today the fields represent an excellent example of arable plant conservation.

Image: Corn buttercup © Cath Shellswell/Plantlife

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