North Meadow - Cricklade

German Glider Defences - Approximately 4 miles NW from the former RAF Blakehill, just on the outskirts of Cricklade is the national nature reserve of North Meadow.

 

During WW2, defensive concrete blocks were installed in the meadow to defend against possible German paratroop attack by glider.

 

An excellent illustration of the blocks positions have been provided for the visitor at the entrance to the meadow (photographed above) and the remaining 14 blocks, out of an original 385, are stacked nearby.

 

Also shown in the illustration is a German DFS 230 transport glider, which was intended for airborne assault operations, armed with a top mounted machine gun. These gliders were equipped with a landing parachute to enable landing in a short distance. A later version was also equipped with forward facing rockets for braking, though it’s puzzling how this would help in accomplishing a stealthy attack!

 

The meadow was notified as a biological Site of Special Scientific Interest in 1971 and it is famous for its snake's-head fritillary (Fritillaria meleagris), the 500,000 fritillaries which flower each year, represent 80% of the British population.