Snakeshead fritillaries and Orchids in the Cotswolds

snakeshead fritillary

snakeshead fritillary From mid April to the end of May the Cotswolds are home to some magnificent displays of wild flowers.  The spectacle begins in North Meadow, Cricklade with a spring time display of snakeshead fritillaries of international importance.  A staggering 80% of Britain’s snakeshead fritillaries grow on this 110 acre site.  The meadow is open to the public and guided walks are also arranged.

The times for these as well as an accompanying walk leaflet can be found at

orchids CotswoldsJust a 20 minute walk from Daisy Chain lies Clattinger Farm, a precious remnant of Britain’s ancient hay meadows.  The farm is considered the finest remaining example of a typical lowland hay meadow in the UK. It has never been treated with any agricultural chemicals and is one of the finest wildflower meadows in Europe.  As well as being home to snakeshead fritillaries it is also home to a range of orchids including the green-winged, early marsh and burnt orchids.  The volume of orchids within the meadow has to be seen to be believed! A visit in May is a must.Orchids Cotswolds

More information about Clattinger Farm can be found at

Do contact us if we can help you out with somewhere to stay during your wild flower safari in the Cotswolds! We have a number of mid week breaks available in April, May and June.


Pond dipping on the Lower Mill Estate


Frogspawn With the arrival of spring, the ponds on the Lower Mill Estate Nature Reserve are beginning to burst into life.  One of the first signs is frogs and toads making their way to the ponds to breed.  Children love spotting large lumps of frogspawn in the ponds, which starts off with just a tiny dot in the middle of a ball of jelly.  It’s great fun to watch the frogspawn developing over the following days and weeks and turning into tadpoles then froglets.  And then the day comes when the froglets become frogs and make their own journey away from the pond and into the big wide world (or nature reserve as it may be!)


On the Lower Mill Estate, one of the best places to look at pondlife, and for frogspawn at this time year is at Pike’s Corner.  It has a board walk that leads you to a pond with a sign showing different wildlife that can be found.  As spring warms up there will be masses of damselflies and grasshoppers. Our children spend many happy hours trying to catch grasshoppers and watching them leap!

Pond dipping


Froglife, a national wildlife conservation charity which focuses on the conservation of the UK’s amphibian and reptile species has produced a great app called ‘Dragon Finder’.  You can use it to identify reptiles and amphibians as well as their eggs, larvae and calls and to report sightings.  It is available for iPhone and Android.  The app can be downloaded from


Lower Mill Estate Architecture

Lower Mill Estate Architecture

The Lower Mill Estate architecture is an attractive mix of contemporary styles which set against their lakeside location produces spectacular views. If you look carefully you will see the faint presence of a rainbow in this photo which was taken at the weekend.

To find out more about staying on the Lower Mill Estate visit


Otters in Cotswold Water Park

Otters in Cotswold Water Park

Otters in Cotswold Water Park

Cotswold Water Park is home to a healthy population of otters, but it remained a mammal that I hadn’t ever seen in the wild…until yesterday morning.  We had a magical time by one of the lakes on the Lower Mill Estate watching the otters diving for fish.  There were four otters who were went about their fishing with our family being a very happy audience.  We were amazed by the number of times they did synchronised dives.  Enjoy watching some of the footage we took!



Lower Mill Estate Aerial Photograph

Lower Mill Estate Aerial Photograph

A fabulous photograph of the Lower Mill Estate in Cotswold Water Park where Daisy Chain is. Cotswold Water Park itself covers an area of over 40 square miles and is made up of 150 lakes. You can see just a few of them here! The Lower Mill Estate is a private nature reserve and as such is a fantastic area for exploring – there are beavers and otters, kingfishers and egrets and that’s just for starters. When you’ve been out for a day exploring you can arrive back and pop to the Spa for a swim, or for the energetic enjoy a game of tennis first – there are two courts to choose from. While Mum and Dad are playing tennis they can watch the children enjoying the playgound and trampoline – or maybe they will chose to play football on the new 5-a-side pitch. Everything is so close…and yet Daisy Chain enjoys superb uninterrupted views across the largest lake on the estate, Somerford Lagoon. It makes a fabulous location for a fun filled family holiday.

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#DaisyChain #aerialphotography #cotswolds


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Parent Friendly Stays at Daisy Chain!

Parent Friendly Stays at Daisy Chain!

A stay at Daisy Chain with Cotswold Family Holidays isn’t just a great for children – it’s a parent friendly stay too. Here’s why:

1. Sauna, Steam room and Gym…as well as a luxury spa.
2. Pub with good food less than a mile away.
3. Free wifi and large screen tv.
4. Really well equipped kitchen – great for foodies
5. Miles of peaceful lakeside walks.
6. Master bedroom with ensuite and amazing lake views.
7. Tennis court and table tennis table.
8. Log burning stove to sit around in the evening.
9. Blackout blinds on the windows to help little ones sleep that bit longer.
10. Plenty of wine glasses!

and of course a family holiday couldn’t be parent friendly if it wasn’t child friendly too. So here’s what the kids can look forward to:

1. Heated indoor and outdoor swimming pools.
2. Great paths for scooting and cycling round.
3. Playground with swings, slides climbing frame, a trampoline and football goals.
4. Chickens to visit.
5. Lots of toys to play with.
6. Children’s DVDs and a large screen tv to watch them on.
7. A great house for hide and seek.
8. Child size cutlery and plastic plates so no-one gets upset when they are dropped.
9. Trees to climb.
10. Bridges to play pooh sticks from.

Like to know a little more? Pop over to


Watching Beavers in the Cotswolds

In 2005 six European beavers were released to Flagham Fen on the Lower Mill Estate in the Cotswolds. Since their arrival they have thrived, building beaver lodges, felling trees, digging a network of mini canals for easy transportation of logs and generally being as busy as, well, beavers!

It is a real treat to see the beavers – they are nocturnal so just before dawn or just after dusk are the most likely times of day to see them. The lake where they live is a 10 minute walk from Daisy Chain. As they glide through the water you spot the characteristic ‘v’ wave coming from the front of their head. Sometimes they turn and face you, staring into your eyes before arching their backs and diving silently under the water, where they can remain for up to 15 minutes at a time. It is a magical sight.

The linked video is a compilation of some of our sightings.


Ready to explore Cirencester?

Ready to explore Cirencester?

A walk around Cirencester, following the recently launched ‘Whereat Trail’ will introduce you to many historically significant parts of the town. The trail was set up in commemoration of Norman Whereat, the first person to be awarded the ‘Freeman of Cirencester. He was a long time town councillor and twice mayor. The trail begins at Corinium Museum (the multi award winning museum which has a large collection of locally found Roman artefacts) and continues past the gates of the Bathurst Estate, the west gate of Roman Corinium and the Roman amphitheatre.

To download the trail visit

Photo credit Brian Robert Marshall cc-by-sa/2.0

Cirencester Amphitheatre

Giant Hares invade Cirencester

Cirencester hare

Chester had rhinos, Bristol had Grommit the dog and now Cirencester has Hares! The hare has a special place in the history of Cirencester. In 1971, a mosaic bearing a hare was found close to the River Churn and is now the symbol of the Corinium Museum where the mosaic is now housed.

This summer, 50 decorated 5 foot hares have been placed around Cirencester and the surrounding area. They are accompanied by 24 small decorated hares which are placed in shops and cafés.

A number of celebrities have decorated hares – they include Adam Henson, Chris Beardshaw, Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen and Amy Williams.

All the family can have fun seeing how many hares they can find….for an insider’s map check out

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Cirencester hare