Conigre Mead Nature Reserve Melksham

 How it started.

The reserve in 1989 was just a field of Cocksfoot grass, occasionally grazed by cattle. There was just one Willow tree in the centre, which marks the original course of the River Avon.  It was decide to try to create a Nature Reserve here on the banks of the river for all to enjoy and to be a resource for local schools. 

Money was raised from various local organisations, councils and individuals.  The reserve was then taken over by the Wiltshire Wildlife Trust, who with a team of volunteers manage it.Over the course of 20 years, ponds have been dug, trees and shrubs planted.

 Local Primary school children planted wildflowers.

Please note that all photos on this website are copyright protected and must not be used without permission of the site owners.


Celebration Day

24th June 2012

The celebration day was enjoyed by local people and the Reserve's volunteers, despite the river overflowing. The marquee was moved further up the rerserve to avoid the rising flood waters.  The day's activities went ahead as planned, only cut short by half an hour when the river finally inundated much of the site.

open day

There was pond dipping and wildlife and bird information stands, as well as bee-keeping and arts & crafts demonstrations. Food provided by Melksham's WI.

open day 8

Ceramic tiles, made by local artist Jane Johnson and young people at Canberra Youth Centre, were installed at the three entrances. 

open day 11

An impressive cake, depicting the reserve, was made by Win Rose for the occasion and was cut by Ian and Gill Cardy (the reserve wardens) and Gary Mantle (Wiltshire Wildlife Trust Director).

Cutting the cake

(above photos by Anita Exton)

The Town Cryer livened up the day and Perry Chadwyck-Healy, the Chair of the WWT Trustees, cut the ribbon.

Chair of Wilts Wildlife Trust cuts the ribbon

(photo by Gill Cardy)


Posted in News


Latest news - June 2012

20th June 2012

Well here we are - the Lottery Project is finished! - well almost - just the celebration to go and we will be putting the Youth Art Work project in place in the next day or two.

We have a restored bridge, new paths, new gates, new pond and new information boards.



Our volunteers, with the help of the Wiltshire Wildlife Trust, have put in a lot of hard work extra to their normal commitment.


Already we have noticed an increase in the number of people, not just rushing through on their way to work and shops, but stopping to look at the natural wonders of our tiny reserve and enjoying its tranquility.

Their has been a lot of disruption of course but nature will take its course in restoring some of the flowers which have been displaced, not to mention a late start to their season.

Notably, the dragonflies which did so well last year, have been slow to appear. However the damselflies are about, though in fairly low numbers.

It’s good to see the riverside willow trees now sprouting profusely again.

We hope to see lots of people at our celebration next Sunday 24th June.

Don’t forget the Bat Walk at 9.15 pm. Meet in the reserve by the riverside gate.

new pond2849

Posted in Lottery news


Spring at Conigre Mead

Spring has slowed down after the lovely weather in March, but flowers are springing up and trees and shrubs are blossoming.

wild cherry 9999

Celandine has been flowering for 2 or 3 weeks and the primroses make a good display on the bank of the pond.  Some of the paths are lined with the white dead-nettle, with sprigs of purple ground ivy peeping through.
promroses 9796
The shrubs are starting to flower particularly the white blossom of the Blackthorn - very profuse this year - no doubt that accounts for the legendary 'Blackthorn Winter' chill we now have.
In February we planted some new trees on the western boundary near the river and they are coming on nicely.  Now, at last, the pollarded Willows, down by the river, are showing signs of new growth - they will soon be growing up well and recovering their branches.
sprouting willow9993
Click "Continue Reading" to see more photos

Update on Lottery-Funded Works

The contractors will be starting on the new paths and gates towards the end of April, and the work will take about 2 weeks.

The bridge repairs are now complete and a non-skid surface has been installed.
The designers are working on the new interpretation boards which will be different for each of the 3 gates.
We hope that we will have some money to spare and plan to dig a new pond which will be at the southern side and will not be flooded by the river.

Posted in Lottery news


Art Activity

Lottery-funded project

We hope to involve some young people in an art activity for the Lottery project, based on environmental issues in the Reserve.  Several artists have sent in proposals and we will meet with the young people at the Canberra shortly to make a decision.

Posted in Lottery news


Lottery-Funded Work to Begin

Appeal for Volunteers

Several bids have been received for the installation of new weather-proof paths and we have appointed a contractor for this.  Work will start on this when the weather is likely to be dry - probably in April.

Posted in Lottery news


Arrival of Peter's Shed and Opening Ceremony

on 9th December

The storage container was delivered last Friday. Two members of the volunteer group helped the lorry driver reverse into the reserve and unload the container onto the sleepers.

container 4


Posted in News


November 18th

The Volunteers' Activities

Today we had two tasks to get on with. The Wiltshire Wildlife Trust have got us some railway sleepers to make a base for our new shed which we hope will be delivered soon. Our volunteers, with the aid of some strops, carefully carried the sleepers to the site at the south-western end of the reserve where we plan to put a half container. This will be a small storage shed and will save carting our conservation tools from their present storage some distance away. The site had already been leveled by the Payback Team pretty well and there was very little adjustment needed.

Posted in News


Conigre Mead Celebration Party - 24th June: 12 - 4pm

Come and celebrate our new look thanks to being

awarded Lottery funding enabling access to everyone


  • Dragonfly and insect walk, pond dipping, storytelling and drumming, wildlife games, children's craft workshop
  • Information stalls in the marquee : Wiltshire Ornithological Society, Climate Friendly Group and Wildlife Hospital
  • Canoe taster trip, fishing and bee-keeping demonstrations
  • Light refreshments and drinks
  • Bat Walk in the evening 9.15 pm

Posted in Lottery news


Progress on Lottery-Funded Works

Improvement works at Conigre Mead have continued, despite all the rain earlier this month which flooded the site (see photo below).

may 2012 flood

The new all-weather paths have been completed and 2 new gates have been installed, which will improve accessibility on the reserve. A new gate at the entrance by the A350 will be installed soon.

new path re-size

new gate re-size

Posted in Lottery news


Upcoming Activities

Put the Party date in your diary: 24th June from 12 noon till 4 pm- All welcome!
There will be fun & games for all the family: a story teller, stalls from interested organisations, help from the Wiltshire Wildlife Trust, pond dipping, light refreshments and drinks.
Also, an artist has been appointed to work with the young people a the Canberra youth centre. They are going to make an exciting ceramic display of dragonflies, which will be installed in time for the party.

Posted in Lottery news


Latest news from the Reserve

by Gill Cardy

A brand new Leaflet for Conigre Mead has been designed by the Wiltshire Wildlife Trust, sponsored by Sainsbury’s as part of a fee for housing the translocated reptiles prior to beginning work on their flood relief area.
It will shortly be available in the Tourist Information Office in Church Street.
Sadly our new shed was vandalised shortly after it arrived as someone smashed one of the padlocks.  Fortunately we have other security measures in place and they were unable to get in.  There are only a few working tools in there anyway.

Posted in News


Volunteers Start Lottery-Funded Work

January Working Party

The physical work on the Lottery Project started in earnest today.
Some new volunteers were very welcome and made a good work force of 11people, together with some very young volunteers who did a good job of litter-picking.

new volunters at work resize

Posted in News


Latest wildlife sightings on the reserve

by Gill Cardy

The berries in the reserve are providing food for the birds throughout December. 
winter berries 8358
We recently had a lot of flood water over much of the reserve and this has left a lot of mud by the river seat.  The payback team cleared a lot of it today but when we have our new hard surfaced paths, it will be easier to sweep away.

October 31st - An Afternoon in the Reserve

by Gill Cardy

A happy afternoon was spent in the reserve today looking for dragonflies. It was a sunny and quite warm day and the common darters and one or two Migrant Hawker dragonflies were busy making the most of the weather before winter is upon us.

We have recorded an amazing 15 different species this year - 6 Damselflies and 9 Dragonflies. Pictured below is an Azure Damselfly.

azure damselfly

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