What We Offer
The Hurst Water Meadow comprises 3 sites:
Hurst Water Meadow is an 18-acre island lying between the River Thame and the Overy mill stream. This picturesque site, with its backdrop of Dorchester Abbey and the Wittenham Clumps, is popular with families, naturalists, dog walkers, school groups and people just looking for quiet space. It floods in most winters and provides a wide range of wildlife habitats.
Old Bridge Meadow is a 3-acre site next to the road bridge over the River Thame, just outside the village. It is a mixture of rough grazing, old river channels, and willow woodland. A feature is the historic causeway leading to a former river crossing. This meadow also floods.
Overy Mead Piece is a 4.6-acre site which links Old Bridge Meadow with the confluence of the rivers Thame and Thames.
The meadows are managed for conservation, with some areas left undisturbed on a three year rotation basis, remaining wild in intervening years. The majority is managed as wild flower meadow, through which mown paths meander. There are remnants of medieval dykes and ditches where marshland flora are encouraged. Crack willows populate the banks of the Thame and its backwater leading to and from Overy Mill, which operated until the 1960’s.
The meadows feature a succession of wild flower species. Deer and many different species of birds and butterflies are frequently sighted. Red kites and buzzards circle lazily overhead, and owls and bats may be seen in the late evening. The river has good coarse fishing accessible through the Dorchester Angling Club, and an increasing otter population.
All this is a few steps from historic Dorchester and its medieval abbey and High Street, its pubs and tea rooms, easily accessible from the Thames path and beyond that Wittenham Clumps, which provides a scenic backdrop to the meadows.