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The Meadows

The Bishop’s Meadow is an open area of lowland grassland laying to the west of Farnham town centre in Surrey and is an excellent example of an open and wild green space with unrestricted public access. The site is bounded by the spectacular River Wey (Northern branch) to the south. The far western corner of the site adjoins West Street allotment gardens and Farnham cemetery. The far eastern boundary is immediately adjacent to the Old Vicarage and St.’ Andrew’s Parish Church.


The meadows consists partly of agricultural land from a bygone age. The lay of land is generally flat although uneven underfoot in places with some evidence of grazing.  The meadows are accessible on foot from various directions and crossed by four public foot pathways and a permissive path  that runs around the periphery of the site. The only vehicular access is lockable and gated from the adjacent Crosby Estate and there are no amenities other than three benches.

The flora of the site is dominated by grasses such as Timothy – Phleum pratense and Meadow Barley – Hordeum brachyantherum with scattered patches of bramble Rubus fruticosus, hawthorn Crataegus monogyna and blackthorn Prunus spinosa scrub and tall ruderal herbs dominated by nettles Urtica diocia. The site is crossed by two defunct species-poor hedges dominated by hawthorn. There are a number of mature trees scattered along the periphery. Willow pollard dominates along the watercourses and Tudor ditch and pedunculate oak adjacent to the boundary with the cemetery. There is a line of semi-mature poplar recently pollarded forming a landscape screen between the meadows and the adjacent Business Park.

The River Wey Northern Branch that forms the southern periphery of the site is typical of a small to medium, spring-fed chalk stream with gravel bed and a moderate flow. The banks are earth and steep in places with marginal vegetation dominated by common reed Phragmites australis and water-cress Rorippa nasturtium, yellow flag iris Iris pseudacorus and occasional infestations of Himalayan balsam Impatiens glandulifera. The water is clear with some interesting aquatic vegetation including Corky-Fruited Water Dropwort Oenanthe pimpinelloides a Surrey rarity and carries a population of wild brown trout Salmo Trutta in addition to coarse species, chub Leuciscus cephalus being the dominant.

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