Travel close to home: Tewkesbury Severn Ham


The most dominant feature of the Gloucestershire town of Tewkesbury, aside from the confluence of rivers Avon and Severn, the medieval buildings and alleyways, the 10th century Abbey and the site of the 1471 Battle of Tewkesbury, is the Severn Ham, a vast rich meadow between the town and River Severn.

In the past the Ham was reluctant host to events such as horse racing, a regular fair ground and in winter, a festival of ice skating. Today it’s precious to walkers, picnickers and lovers of natural fauna and flora. This includes the rare Sulphurwort (Oenanthe silaifolia).Grass species include Cocksfoot, Meadow Foxtail, Meadow Barley, and Smooth Brome (Bromus racemosus). There is Marsh Foxtail in the wetter areas. Flowering species such as Meadow Buttercup and Lady’s Smock are plentiful. Trees and scrub grow on the margins, offering shaded spots for fishing and bathing.

Image The site is important for protection, being one of the few remaining ham meadows in England which are traditionally managed by those who hold rights to graze stock and make hay. It is rich in alluvial deposits from regular annual flooding. Its name derives from the Old English word Hamme meaning place in the bend in the river. Heaven forbid that the Ham at Tewkesbury would be despoiled by ‘development’.

Travel close to home.



About 2far2shout

outstanding in my own field OU creative writing A215 2011 slow traveller wild swimmer day dreamer Short Story winner
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2 Responses to Travel close to home: Tewkesbury Severn Ham

  1. Lucid Gypsy says:

    There’s nothing quite like an English meadow in flower. I’ve never heard the name Ham, thanks, learning all the time 🙂

    • 2far2shout says:

      Dearest Gilly. How right you are about learning all the time, and about the incomparable quality of an English wild flower meadow.
      Hams are interesting because of the informal management. Soon this meadow will be cut, baled and taken away, to be replaced by grazing animals who will compact it and fertilise it. But not before the skylarks, lapwings and meadow larks have raised their chicks. By mid summer the Ham will be handed back to nature until the next cycle begins.

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