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Visit a Petalled Paradise Near You

News > Visit a Petalled Paradise Near You

23/05/2017

Date of issue: 23 May 2017

National Meadows Day, dedicated to celebrating and protecting our vanishing wildflower meadows and the wealth of wildlife they support, will take place on Saturday 1 July. This year's celebration will be the biggest yet, with over 100 events taking place across the UK.

From wildflower walks and scything demonstrations, to picnics and bug hunts, people will have the opportunity to experience our meadows first-hand this summer.

Teaming with wildlife and a riot of colour, the flower-rich hay meadows at Nethergill Eco-Farm near Buckden are truly special. Visitors can take part in wildflower walks, talks and bug hunting activities in the heart of the Yorkshire Dales (weather permitting). Homemade refreshments will be available or visitors can bring a picnic. Although the activities are free, donations are welcome to support the meadow restoration work of Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust. Booking is advised via www.nethergill.co.uk or by calling 07854 602060.

Or head to the Forest of Bowland AONB and visit Bell Sykes Coronation Meadows in Slaidburn for a chance to learn more about the plants and wildlife which inhabit these flagship meadows. Take a guided flower or bug walk (starting 11am and 2pm, priced at £3), watch rural craft demonstrations, learn about the traditional uses of meadow plants and see a meadow cut by hand. Refreshments will be available. For more information email sarah.robinson@lancashire.gov.uk or call 01200 448000.

Both events will take place from 10am to 4pm on Saturday 1 July, offering a chance to learn more about the important ongoing restoration work being carried out by Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust and the Forest of Bowland AONB to help restore this iconic part of our landscape for future generations.

Working with farmers, landowners and contractors, the ripe wildflower seeds from thriving species-rich hay meadows are harvested and spread onto meadows nearby that have lost some of their botanical diversity. Key species have already been reintroduced to more than 650 hectares so far, with plans to improve the species diversity in a further 100 hectares of degraded meadows across the region this summer.

Just 100 years ago there would have been a meadow in every parish across the region, supporting a way of life that had gone on for centuries. Supporting over 80 species of wildflowers, a healthy hay meadow provided grazing and hay for livestock as well as employment, food and medicine for the parish, and they were part of a community's cultural and social history. Today, just 3% of the meadows that existed in the 1930’s remain – that’s a loss of over 3 million hectares.

National Meadows Day is the headline event of Save Our Magnificent Meadows, the UK’s largest partnership project transforming the fortunes of vanishing wildflower meadows, grasslands and wildlife. Plantlife, supported by money raised by National Lottery players with a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), is spearheading the project.

Image: Meadows at Nethergill Eco Farm.

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