Somerset Wildlife Trust

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National Meadows Day - Putting Somerset's meadows back on the map

 23rd Jun 2017

Saturday 1st July 2017 - #NationalMeadowsDay

* Save the date: National Meadows Day to take place on 1 July 2017magmeadows snip

* Wildflower meadows are vanishing; 97% have been lost since the 1930s

* A single healthy meadow can be home to over 80 species of wild flowers

National Meamagmeadowsdows Day (1), dedicated to celebrating and protecting our vanishing wildflower meadows and the wealth of wildlife they support, will take place on Saturday 1 July 2017. This year's National Meadows Day will be the biggest yet, with over 100 events (2) taking place across England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales.

From barefoot walks and scything workshops, to picnics and bug hunts, people will have the opportunity to experience first-hand the petalled-paradise that is a meadow in summer.

Join Somerset Wildlife Trust to celebrate the county’s meadows and explore their beauty through a guided walk at Chancellor’s Farm in the Mendip Hills, led by the Magnificent Meadows team. The team will be on hand to talk about the wildflowers that can be found across the farm, and the bumblebees and butterflies that pollinate them. Chancellor’s Farm is not open to the public normally, so take the opportunity to visit while you can on July 1st!

Or you could explore our Bishopwood Meadow Nature Reserve, together with the Blackdown Hills Natural Futures Team and be taken on a discovery of the wildlife that thrives amongst the meadows, and get help in identifying all the species that you find. To find out more about these events please visit our website – www.somersetwildlife.org/events

Pippa Rayner, Save Our Magnificent Meadows Community Engagement Officer in Somerset, comments, ‘National Meadows Day has become something quite special to many people across Somerset.  It is a great opportunity for all those who cherish our meadows and have worked to conserve them to celebrate the year’s work and to enjoy coming together,whether in their communities or as families to enjoy them at their very best.  We would love to see as many people as possible at our events to help us celebrate.’

National Meadows Day is the headline event of Save Our Magnificent Meadows (3), the UK’s largest partnership project transforming the fortunes of our vanishing wildflower meadows, grasslands and wildlife. Plantlife, supported by money raised by National Lottery players with a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) (4), is spearheading the project.

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Chancellor's Farm (picture: Mat Sweeting)

Claire Parton, Save Our Magnificent Meadows Project Manager, said:

"Meadows, once a feature of every parish in Somerset are now an increasingly fragile part of our national heritage but all is not lost. National Meadows Day is the perfect way to explore and enjoy the flowers and wildlife of Somerset’s  magnificent meadows and understand their special place in our shared social and cultural history.

"Beyond being a quintessential sight of summer, meadows' value to our wildlife cannot be overstated - a single healthy meadow can be home to over 80 species of wild flowers, such as cuckoo flower, yellow rattle, orchids, knapweed and scabious, compared to most modern agricultural pasture which typically  supports under a dozen species."

Just 100 years ago there would have been a meadow in every Somerset parish, supporting a way of life that had gone on for centuries. They provided grazing and hay for livestock, employment, and food and medicine for the parish and were part of a community's cultural and social history. Today, just 3% of the meadows that existed in the 1930’s remain (5) – that’s a loss of 7.5 million acres of wild flower grassland.

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(Picture: Matt Sweeting)

Notes for editors

1) National Meadows Day is the headline event of Save Our Magnificent Meadows, the UK’s largest partnership project transforming the fortunes of our vanishing wildflower meadows, grasslands and wildlife.

2) For more information about the events taking place on National Meadows Day please visit www.magnificentmeadows.org.uk.

3) Led by Plantlife, the Save Our Magnificent Meadows partnership is made up of 11 organisations and is primarily funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund. The partnership consists of Cotswolds Conservation Board, Medway Valley Countryside Partnership, National Trust Wales, Northumberland Wildlife Trust, Plantlife, RSPB (working in Scotland and Wiltshire), Scottish Wildlife Trust, Somerset Wildlife Trust, Ulster Wildlife, and Wiltshire Wildlife Trust.

4) Thanks to National Lottery players, Heritage Lottery Fund invest money to help people across the UK explore, enjoy and protect the heritage they care about - from the archaeology under our feet to the historic parks and buildings we love, from precious memories and collections to rare wildlife. www.hlf.org.uk. Follow HLF on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and use #HLFsupported.

5) https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/may/18/losing-97-percent-britain-wildflower-meadows-matters-butterfly