Know before you go
Parking informationSmall off-road car park
Open from the car park to the bird hide all year round, level paths and boardwalks provide wheelchair access. The remainder of the site is open June – August.
When to visit
Opening timesOpen at all times
Best time to visitApril - July
About the reserve
Close Sartfield lies on the northwest edge of the Ballaugh Curragh, the Island’s largest wetland which is an ASSI and Ramsar site. This flagship site has six wildflower meadows which have a wonderful display of orchids from late May to July when tens of thousands of orchids are in bloom. Cuckoo flower, yellow rattle, harebell, lousewort, purple loosestrife, meadowsweet, Devil’s-bit scabious and knapweed are among the other grassland species present. In the areas of peat, bog myrtle and purple moor grass are dominant, with bogbean, marsh cinquefoil and lesser spearwort. The magnificent bushy royal fern, largest of British ferns, turns a beautiful orange colour in the autumn. A variety of small birds depend on the many invertebrates that thrive amongst the rich flora and in the soft wet ground.
Management: The meadows are cut in August when most of the plants have flowered and set seed. Once the grass has grown back a small flock of sheep are brought onto the reserve. Other management includes coppicing of willow to create variations in the height and density of willow and thus provide different feeding opportunities for birds.