Extract from report dated May 2004 on the field located at Grid Reference ST413525 within Weare Parish.
Topography - The field is predominantly and gently north-sloping, with a steep and non-mechanically manageable area to the north-west that borders Coombe Lane.
Previous farm management - The field has formed part of a dairy farming unit, at least since assumption as a Somerset County Council farm property, probably in the 1950s. It covers a total of 3.1 ha (7.8 acre), of which about 1.8 ha are easily mown for silage or hay, with the remaining 1.3 ha only grazeable by livestock.
Water - The field has 2 sources of water for stock drinking purposes. A water trough at the south-west corner of the field near the main gate entrance, and a small open pond located adjacent to and about halfway along the eastern hedgeline.
Archaeological and Historic Interest - There are no records of Scheduled Ancient Monuments or entries to the Scheduled Monumenets Records of Somerset County Council. Nevertheless, there may be some as yet unrecognised features of importance and the pond and hedgerows are believed to be of local historic importance.
Wildlife Interest - The steeper north-west sloping ground has been recognised as a County Wildlife Site by the Somerset Environmental Records Centre, and is described as 'a species-rich unimproved neutral to calcareous grassland'. The site has a wide range of wild plant species, including : Agrimony, Salad Burnet, Hoary Plantain, Cowslip, Primrose, Small Scabious*, Ox-eye Daisy, Common Knapweed, Lady's Bedstraw, Wild Carrot, Quaking Grass, Spiny Restharrow*, Upright Brome*, Lesser Celandine, and at least one species of orchid, probably Early Purple Orchid. (* denotes a Somerset Notable Species that is considered scarce within the county.)
- It is likely that the range of butterflies and other insects will include Gatekeeper, Meadow Brown, Speckled Wood, Small Tortoiseshell, Peacock, Orange Tip, and probably Marbled White.
- The site is currently used for grazing by Roe Deer, foraging by Fox and Badger, and general security, feeding and breeding by Field Voles. A range of bird species were seen or heard during the visit in March 2004, including Song Thrush, Blackbird, Chiff-chaff Warbler, Marsh Tit, Long-tailed Tit, Buzzard, Sparrow-hawk, Tree-creeper, and Greater Spotted Woodpecker.
- An import array of anthills occurs on the sloping ground and these have an importance for wildlife, in addition to their intrinsic value. This relates to the additional drainage of the anthill soil raised above normal ground level, which enables additional plant species, such as the Lady's Bedstraw seen in March, to develop well.
Pond and Pondlife - The old stock-watering pond adjacent to the eastern hedgerow is probably sourced from a local spring, and may have a stone base that appears up to 1 metre below the current water surface. Although the pond is well silted, with water no more than 40 cms deep at the time of the visit, there were already signs of amphibian activity with 2 newts seen, probably Common Newt, although that was not confirmed. It would not be too surprising were other amphibians or reptiles to be found there, such as Common Frog, even Great Crested Newt*, and perhaps Grass Snake*.
Hedgelines and trees - Field boundaries comprise a range of wildlife importance. The western boundary with Coombe Lane has a range of overhanging older shrubs and trees amongs which Ash, Hazel, Bramble, Ivy and some Oak predominate. Hedgerows to the south and east of the field have been annually trimmed and are predominantly unfenced. There are mature Ash trees in the southern boundary and Hazel, Hawthorn and Blackthorn make up the main hedge constituents.
Main Hay meadow - The main part of the field has probably been little improved in recent years, although doubtless ploughed and re-seeded in the past. Nevertheless, the field has areas of fine-leaved native grass species, and occasional broad-leaved wild flowers, including Wild Carrot, Plaintain and Daisy.
Scrub Invasion - The rougher and steeply sloping western area has had a certain amount of scrub encroachment in recent years, mainly of Bramble, Blackthorn, Hawthorn and occasional Ash saplings. This scrub invasion is particularly evident in the northern corner near to Dapplewood Cottage and along the banks of several terraces that run along the contour in the southern end of the steep sloping area. This scrub is in itself of great value for wildlife as these areas are attractive to birdlife both for feeding and nesting but if not managed, they will overrun the grassland areas that are themselves so important for the scarce wild flowers that are found there. Clearly a balance is required between the scrub and grassland.