It's hard to believe, but these meadows are almost next door to the new Titus Salt School (see yesterday). Between the school and the site of Milner Field, on the edge of Shipley Glen, lies an area of ancient woodland and meadow. It is very close to Saltaire itself - if you click my photo to make it larger, you can see the tower of Saltaire's Victoria Hall (and St Paul's church tower too). All this land used to belong to the Salt estate.
These particular fields - Trench Meadows - are a protected SSSI - a Site of Special Scientific Interest - since 1999. That means they are of national significance: 4.7 hectares of lowland meadow, a nationally rare habitat. They are south facing, on boulder clay deposits overlying Millstone Grit, forming 'unimproved species-rich neutral grassland'. I think that means the fields have never been cultivated and are kept short by grazing. They have some particular types of grasses and herbs including Black Knapweed (Centaurea nigra) and Devil's Bit Scabious (Succisa pratensis) and some orchids too, I think.
It really doesn't look much at first glance - I have walked this way several times, thinking it an attractive area but not realising its significance. (In fact, some friends recently told me about it.) But it makes my heart sing to find an SSSI on my doorstep, and to know that there are people who are passionate to save and even improve these areas. It is listed as 'recovering', which means there is a management plan in place that should see the area slowly improve to its optimum state. That makes me happy!