The reserve is small but exemplifies a traditional farming landscape and provides an oasis for animals and plants in an area of intensive modern farming. The very attractive group of fields are divided by hedges.
Habitat type: Semi-improved and marshy grassland
Size of reserve: 6 hectares / 15 acres
OS map number: 111
Grid reference: SX 304 894 (main entrance)
Best time to visit: Spring and summer
Please contact the Trust before visiting this reserve.
Beales Meadows lie south of Langdon Cross and east of the village of North Petherwin. From the B3254, 3.5 miles (6 km) north of Launceston, take a left turn (track) just before Langdon. Take the first track on the right and the meadows are just past the woodland on the left.
No public rights of way.
Characteristic wildlife of this reserve
The reserve is species-rich, characterised by common rather than rare species.
One of the best known of wildflowers, the buttercup, is found in abundance in the meadows. Both creeping and meadow buttercup flower here, blooming from April through to September. In folklore it was thought that the rich yellow of the buttercup provided better butter from cows grazing in buttercup-rich meadows.
Two clovers are common in the meadow. The creeping stems of white clover take root as they grow, enabling the plant to rapidly cover large areas. A whitish band usually encircles the base of each rounded leaflet and the white flowers, carried on long stalks, provide a valuable and abundant source of nectar for bees.
Red clover is often planted as a fodder crop or is ploughed back in as ‘green manure’ because it fixes nitrogen from the soil. The narrow, point leaflets have a pale v-band and the stalkless, reddish-purple flowers grow from a pair of leaves. The delicate scent attracts butterflies, moths and bees, giving this clover its other name, ‘bee bread’. Smaller and less obvious is lesser trefoil; a yellow clover, thought to be the true Irish shamrock.
Beales Meadows is an extremely good site for amateur naturalists wishing to see how much of Britain’s lowlands would have appeared 50 to100 years ago, together with associated flora and fauna.
The reserve was a gift from Miss Ward in 2002.