Mid Suffolk District Council manage three small countryside sites around Stowmarket.
Once part of the formal gardens of a large manor house that stood next to St Mary’s Church, Church Meadow now supports a variety of wildlife. The hedgerows are full of small birds in spring with Whitethroat and Yellowhammer commonly heard. The meadows support many wild flowers and recently southern marsh orchids have made a welcome reappearance. The upper meadow is bright with buttercups in early summer. In the lower meadow the small pond supports many dragonflies whilst grass snakes can sometimes be seen around its edges.
Some of the features of the former gardens still survive - a symmetrical field, a round pond, levelled embankments and the edges of the formal lake though nature has quickly reclaimed the once manicured grounds.
Visitors are welcome to enter the fenced meadows but must keep dogs on a lead as there are often grazing animals present. A small information board is present on site and a leaflet about the site can be downloaded from the following link:
Lying either side of the A14 flyover between the football ground and the recycling centre, this site is not high on anyone’s list for a quiet day out! However, the small wet meadow has a surprising wealth of plant life with both Adder’s Tongue Fern and Brown Sedge present.
The area of willow scrub is largely undisturbed from where warblers sing in the Summer months. The area has been designated a County Wildlife Site due to its rich variety of wildlife. Grassy paths allow visitors access throughout the site though in winter the lower areas may be flooded. The higher ground is a former landfill site that has recently been planted as a mixed woodland by local volunteers.
Pike's Meadow is an area of mown grassland alongside the River Rattlesden close to the centre of Stowmarket. The area is used by local people for informal picnics and games whilst visitors can make use of the outdoor gym equipment, football goals and basketball area.