These are one piece of land with a size of 12.642 hectares which has come into the ownership of the Town and Manor at two different points in history.
Eddington Marsh was acquired by the Town and Manor from Lady Ward in 1936 when Lady Ward was tidying up the boundaries of Chilton Estate and included the islands and reed beds beside the Kennet.
Harvey’s Meadow this piece of land to the eastern end of Hungerford was bequeathed to the Town and Manor by Major Humphrey Le Fleming Fairfax Harvey in 1977. Major Fairfax-Harvey was Constable of the Town and Manor from 1950 to 1955.
Major Fairfax-Harvey had purchased the land in order to plant trees to form protection for the river from the North & East winds.
Harvey’s meadow is of international importance due to its population of the rare Desmoulin’s whorl snail (which famously held up the Newbury bypass for a while). Due to the important population of whorl snail it is designated an SAC (Special Area of Conservation which is a European designation, higher than SSSI). It is also the largest surviving example of agriculturally unimproved pasture in the Kennet Valley with many rare plants.
The meadow is also designated as species rich grassland a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) by Natural England in recognition of its exceptional habitat and is now managed as a nature reserve.
We operate a strict management program and we are advised on the management by Natural England. It is a very biodiverse site, with fen areas dominated by sedge and rush but is also florally rich with many rare grasses and species of meadow flower as well as an important breeding area for several species of warbler. The pasture within this site is strictly managed by grazing a limited number of cattle each summer.