Folly Farm

Folly Farm

Infobox SSSI

name=Folly Farm
area=19.36 hectares

Folly Farm (gbmapping|ST607604) is a traditionally managed visitable farm and nature reserve run by the Avon Wildlife Trust. It is located between Stowey and Clutton, in the civil parish of Stowey Sutton in the English county of Somerset.

The farm house is 17th century and the surrounding land includes neutral grassland, flowery meadows and woodlands with splendid views. Much of Folly Farm is designated as a biological Site of Special Scientific Interest. The SSSI comprises two adjacent areas, the meadows (19.36 hectares) and Dowlings Wood (9 hectares).

It can be found near Bishop Sutton in the Chew Valley, just off the A368. The site is situated on a curved ridge of land on neutral soils derived from the underlying Keuper Marl. The soil is of the Ickneild Association with dark brown, moist but moderately well-drained clay.


It attracts a wide range of birds including Marsh tit ("Parus palustris"), Buzzard ("Buteo buteo") and Great spotted woodpecker ("Dendrocopos major"). The pasture is of a kind now rare in the area. In summer the site has a wide variety of flowers such as betony ("Stachys"), Oxeye daisy ("Leucanthemum vulgare") and heath spotted orchid ("Orchidaceae"). In late summer, it is covered with drifts of black knapweed ("Centaurea") and devil's bit scabious (Scabiosa). Many butterflies can be seen throughout the summer, including Marsh Fritillary ("Euphydryas aurina"), Ringlet ("Aphantopus hyperantus") , Gatekeeper ("Pyronia tithonus") and Marbled White ("Melanargia galathea").

A number of scarce species of fly are listed from the site in Gibbs (2002). The cranefly "Atypophthalmus inustus" was recorded in Folly Wood in 2001 and the cranefly "Ormosia bicornis" was found in both Folly Wood and Dowlings Wood in 2000–2001. Prior to these records there had been no previous published records from the county of Somerset. The fungus gnats "Keroplatus testaceus", "Macrocera pusilla", "Megophthalmidia crassicornis", "Exechiopsis dumitrescae" and "Exechiopsis membranacea" have all been recorded, the first four in 2000 in Dowlings Wood, and the last at Folly Wood in 2001. Other species recorded at Dowlings Wood in 2000 were "Platypalpus mikii", a member of the family Hybotidae, and the hoverfly "Volucella inflata", while the soldierfly "Oxycera pardalina" was recorded from Folly WOod in 2001. Finally, the picture-winged fly "Herina palustris" and the hoverflies "Criorhina ranunculi" and "Orthonevra brevicornis" were recorded at Folly Farm in 1999.

Environment centre

The site was purchased from the Strachey family who were lords of the manor of the nearby Sutton Court in 1987. [cite book|last=Ewart|first=Alan W.|coauthors=Douglas C. Baker, Glyn C. Bissix|title=Integrated Resource and Environmental Management|publisher=CABI Publishing|date=2004|pages=42|chapter=3|isbn=9780851998343|url=,M1]

Plans by Avon Wildlife Trust to build an environment centre at the site were referred by Bath and North East Somerset to the Secretary of State following an appeal by a local resident. It has been under construction during 2007 and plans to open for educational activities in 2008. [cite journal
quotes =
author = Rowland Janes
date =
year = 2007
month = May
title = What makes Folly Farm so special
journal = Chew Valley Gazette
volume = 24
issue = 3
pages = 48
issn =
pmid =
doi =
id =
url =
language =
format =
accessdate =
laysummary =
laysource =
laydate =
quote =


*Gibbs, David J. (2002) Scarcer Diptera found in the Bristol region in 1999, 2000 and 2001 "Dipterists Digest" (second series) 9:1-13

External links

* [ Folly Farm]
* [ Memories of Folly Farm by Eric Brain]
* [ AWT page of Folly Farm]
* [ English Nature SSSI citation sheet]


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