| It is the abundance and diversity of plant species that make hay meadows so valuable for wildlife. They contain up to 120 different species of flowering plants and grasses, provide feeding areas for bees, butterflies, spiders and a host of other invertebrates, and attract brown hares, wood mice, bats and birds. |
Hay meadows are nationally important as high nature conservation value areas, but over the last 100 years 97% have been lost. Although the Yorkshire Dales is one of the few strongholds for our remaining meadows, even here fragmentation of these habitats into small isolated sites has resulted in a dramatic loss of biodiversity.
Meadow Links is an ambitious, community driven project that aims to restore wildflower rich hay meadows along ecological networks. These wildflower superhighways will help our pollinators and other wildlife move across the Yorkshire Dales landscape. The project will empower people to conserve their local wildlife by creating community meadows and wildlife patches that connect existing fragmented habitats and help reduce biodiversity loss.
The benefits of Meadow Links
Through Meadow Links we aim to:
- Increase wildflower species in 35 ha of degraded hay meadow using restoration methods developed through our award-winning Hay Time work
- Create ten community meadows across the Yorkshire Dales to mark ten years of our Hay Time meadow restoration work
- Support local people to create wildlife meadows in their own community space, providing funding for equipment and practical training sessions to enable groups to maintain their meadows in years to come
- Provide practical sessions and advice for schools, community groups and landowners, to create 30 wildlife patches that will act as stepping stones at strategic points to extend the hay meadow networks
- Train volunteers to independently monitor species along ecological networks and other meadow sites.
Get involved and help your local wildlife
We’re looking for groups in the Yorkshire Dales who would like to create a wildlife meadow in their own community space. If you are a group of willing volunteers with an accessible public space, about the size of a tennis court, we’d love to hear from you.
We’re also looking for homeowners and landowners to help create 30 wildlife patches of any shape or size, from hedgerows and verges to small back gardens, that could incorporate bird boxes, hogitats (hedgehog habitats), ponds and wildflower areas to support wildlife.
You can view a map of priority locations for wildflower patches here.
To find out more about how you can get involved please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call on 015242 51002.
You can also learn how to create a wildflower lawn or meadow in your own garden by downloading our fact sheet: Creating a wildflower lawn or meadow.
The wider impact
Meadow Links will be delivered in partnership with the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority (YDNPA) ‘Parish Wildlife Project’, Buglife’s national ‘B-Lines’project and Natural England.
The project is also supported by funding from: D’Oyley Carte, Banister Charitable Trust and John Spedan Lewis Foundation.
Conservation work undertaken by Meadow Links will be mapped and recorded to help provide a clear picture of what work has been done on the ground to create a cohesive and resilient network for wildlife across the Yorkshire Dales, and highlight where further action needs to be taken.