Moor Closes

Morr closes

Photo by Cheryl Aggett

The four fields of the reserve are close to the village of Ancaster. At the south end of Ancaster is the crossroads of the A153 Sleaford-Grantham road and Ermine Street. A short distance west of the crossroads, along the main road, a lane turns right and passes the west end of the church. The reserve entrance gate is reached on foot on the left after about 500 m. Parking space is available in the village near the church. The lane may be reached by walking through the churchyard. Visitors are requested to keep to the waymarked route.

Description and Management

These old pasture fields lie on the floor of the Ancaster Gap on sands and gravels carried from the Trent Valley through the gap in the limestone by glacial overflow waters. A small stream intersects the reserve, which is mostly low-lying and wet, although the land rises a little on the north side to give better drained and drier conditions.

The low areas have a rich, wet meadow and marsh flora with a variety of grasses, sedges and rushes and localised plants, such as marsh arrowgrass, ragged-robin, marsh valerian, devil's-bit scabious, adder's-tongue, and an abundance of marsh- and spotted-orchids. The drier areas have a similarly varied flora, including dropwort, meadow saxifrage and the distinctive inland sub-species of thrift Armeria maritima elongata. This rare thrift, with long stems, formerly occurred on a number of sites on the old Lincoln Heath, extending into Leicestershire, but is now confined in Britain to the reserve and the nearby graveyard. The ecological interest of the reserve is further enhanced by the stream (where there are old pollarded willows) and by large hedges with a variety of trees and shrubs.

Traditional management by grazing with cattle is being continued in order to maintain the richness and interest of the site.