Le Noir Pre orchid meadow
Lately the beautiful Jersey Island got one more exciting landmark – Le Noir Pré orchid meadow. This natural wonder requires some human assistance – and it redeems with thousands of dark purple flowers of Jersey orchids.
Map of the site
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In fact here are located two adjoining orchid meadows: the larger Le Noir Pré (in English – "the black meadow") (1.96 ha), and the smaller Le Clos du Seigneur (0.5 ha).
Both meadows serve as a reminder, a relict of centuries-long agricultural tradition. Many generations of Jersey farmers used these wet meadows for hay cutting and grazing and here evolved a specific ecosystem.
Times changed and old traditions were out of place. Fields were abandoned – part of Le Noir Pré was used as a rubbish tip in the 1950s – 1960s.
Other wet meadows in Jersey were gradually turned into drained and plowed fields. After a recommendation of a local biologist, The National Trust of Jersey purchased Le Noir Pré in 1972.
Proper management of meadows though was mastered later. Now the meadows are cut and baled in July after orchids and other plants have set seed. Afterward, the fields are grazed by cattle.
This has brought success. In 2002 there was observed that the number of orchids has increased significantly since the 1990s. In late years there is observed mass bloom of orchids and we may expect even more in coming years.
The mass bloom of orchids takes place in late May-early June. The site can be visited then – but visitors should keep to the mown paths.
Most noticeable plant is Jersey Orchid (Anacamptis laxiflora, also Orchis laxiflora). This orchid here grows up to 60 cm tall, it has dark purple flowers. In the United Kingdom, Jersey Orchid is found only on the Channel Islands, but it is fairly common in continental Europe. Le Noir Pré belongs to prominent habitats of this beautiful plant.
Here are flowering other orchids as well: such as Southern Marsh Orchid (Dactylorhiza praetermissa), Common Spotted Orchid (Dactylorhiza fuchsii) and Heath Spotted Orchid (Dactylorhiza maculata).
- Le Noir Pre, The National Trust for Jersey. Accessed in the 2nd April 2011
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