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Joan’s Hill Farm Nature Reserve

Location: Checkley, Herefordshire
OS: SO 592374
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Habitat: Meadows, pasture and woodland

Meadow white, yellow, purple meadow flowers among grass
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The Reserve

Joan’s Hill Farm, set in the Wye Valley Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty is a stunning piece of Herefordshire meadowland alongside a small area of woodland. The reserve is one of several of Plantlife’s reserves to hold that generally scarce Pepper-saxifrage as well as the uncommon Dyer’s Greenweed and Greater Butterfly-orchid Platanthera chlorantha.

Some of the meadow species are less common. Also found here is Dyer’s Greenweed. It looks a little like a low-growing broom, although no more than 70cm tall, but it has no spines and its leaves are unlobed. It is a species of old meadows and grassy pastures, and was once used to produce yellow and green dyes.

The eastern block of pasture land, covering around six acres, hosts species like betony, and in the small area of woodland at the west of the reserve you’ll find many typical woodland plants.


A stunning piece of Herefordshire meadowland, set in the Wye Valley Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

Until relatively recently it was still a working farm (the farmhouse is still privately owned) and our land here is divided into 14 different fields, with one parcel of woodland. Three hundred years ago, the farm had exactly the same boundaries as today, and the pattern of fields has hardly changed since the tithe map of 1843.

The reserve is in two parcels, separated by about 300m, but the largest part is a 40-acre block of meadow. To conserve the flowers and wildlife, we cut the meadows for hay in late summer, after the meadow plants have flowered and set seed. Any regrowth is then grazed by cattle during the autumn, but for the rest of year grazing animals are kept off the meadows to encourage the greatest diversity of plants.

Species to look out for

  • Green-winged Orchid Orchis morio April-May
  • Dyer’s Greenweed Genista tinctoria June-July
  • Pepper-saxifrage Silaum silaus June-July


Joan's Hill map


Park at Haugh Wood car park and picnic site, just off the road from Mordiford to Woolhope (grid reference: SO 592 365).

Purchase of the reserve was made possible by Unilever (Timotei) and the Heritage Lottery Fund.