Updated: Nov 14, 2020
While Wiltshire Wildlife Trust manages some large, rural sites it also looks after little pockets of urban wildlife. Conigre Mead is a tiny piece of land in Melksham sandwiched between Sainsbury's car park and the A350. Yet visiting this 1.21 hectare site reminds you that when left to thrive, nature will do just that.
It is clearly a managed site. The paths cut through the grass and the man made ponds testify to that but large pockets of it are left to run wild and grow as nature intends, which makes it a wildlife haven with plenty of dragonflies, butterflies and birds.
The north end of Conigre Mead looks over the River Avon and there is a viewing point with a seat to just sit and contemplate. Exploring the footpaths takes you to the dipping ponds which at the moment look a bit sorry for themselves and are in need of some nurturing. When I last visited here a few years ago the dipping platforms were solid, the pond levels high and covered in dense green algae that made them look like a golf putting green. Hopefully they can be restored.
It is such a small site it is hard to recommend a special visit, but if you are passing through Melksham and want a quiet space to unwind, a walk through the site and just sitting by the river will be a good restorative measure.
OS Map Grid Reference ST901638
Conigre Mead is easily accessed from Sainsbury's Melksham car park just off Bath Road. From the car park, there is a footpath by the river which leads directly to the reserve gate where a sign will show you all the information and a map of the site. The footpaths make this site accessible all year round.
More information and a reserve leaflet with a map of the site can be found here: Conigre Mead
While on site I did take some video and have pulled together a quick clip. It won't win any oscars but will let you see the whole site from the air: