As well as working on our reserves and with landowners, Somerset Wildlife Trust would really like to work more with communities and help support the things you’d like to do for wildlife. Through the Save our Magnificent Meadows project we have funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund to run events such as wildflower walks, bumblebee hunts and butterfly days, as well as to support communities to run their own meadow projects.
As part of the Save our Magnificent Meadows project we will be working with three parishes in the Mendip Hills. In each area we can support the community to come up with an idea for a project that helps to conserve, restore or raise awareness of local wildflower grasslands for the benefit of the community, and then help local people to make it happen!
These 'Parish Meadows' projects are currently underway and we have been thoroughly delighted as the people involved have been so enthusiastic and have already achieved so much in a relatively short time!
Priddy is a large parish situated high on the Mendip Hills above Wells in Somerset. Wholly within the Mendip Hills AONB, the parish stretches from Burrington Coombe in the west, Pen Hill in the east and from Harptree in the north to the Mendip escarpment in the south. The population live in a number of scattered settlements including Eastwater, Nordach, Charterhouse and Yoxter with the greater number of people living in and around Priddy with it's historic village greens and hurdle stack.
|As part of the Save our Magnificent Meadows project we are working with a group of local people to increase the wild flower area in the parish. So far this work has involved surveying local areas to assess the restoration potential as well as harvesting wild flower seed to be planted and grown as plug plants for restoration areas. We also ran a singing workshop in a meadow for the Priddy folk festival. The biggest success has been the church yard which already had very good species diversity, but had been cut very short for many years which had not allowed the wildflowers to grow or flower. On our advice two areas of the church yard were left to grow longer and the results were incredible!
In the coming weeks and months in Priddy we will be identifying some road verges that can be planted with wildflowers. There are also plans to produce a booklet with walks around the wildflower areas of the parish.
If you live in Priddy and would like to get involved please call Jake Chant on 01823 652472 or email
Stoke St Michael / Leigh-on-Mendip
The Save our Magnificent Meadows team has also been working with local people in the communities of Stoke St Michael and Leigh on Mendip, as well as with the quarries found in these parishes.
In June, local people joined us on a wildflower walk around Halecombe Quarry, visiting the meadow that has been restored through Somerset Wildlife Trust working in partnership with the local grazier and Halecombe Quarry foreman. The display of colours, shapes and sounds was a delight; with oxeye daisy, common knapweed, kidney vetch, birds-foot-trefoil and far more. All being used by butterflies including marbled white, common blue and meadow brown, as well as five species of bumblebee!
Later in the summer, members of the group got together again to harvest seed from our Edford Meadow reserve as well as the newly-restored site at Halecombe Quarry. The seed will be sown directly, as well as being grown into plug plants that will be planted next autumn to create new meadow areas around their parish that everyone can enjoy.
If you live around these parishes and would like more information or to get involved, please call Pippa Rayner or Jake Chant on 01823 652400 or email
In 2014 Whatcombe Fields, a site known as the 'sledging fields' in Frome came up for sale as 'land with development potential'. In a bid to protect them as green space for everyone to enjoy, a very successful fundraising campaign by the 'Save Open Spaces Frome' group secured the £330,000 needed for the community to purhase the fields and 282 shareholders pitched in to buy them.
The fields will now be preserved as an accessible green space for all. Somerset Wildlife Trust has since visited and surveyed the fields and discovered that they not only already have several species-rich banks, but that the fields have a huge potential to support a greater diversity of wildflowers, so we are working with the group to provide advice on this where needed.
Working with the community to ensure the fields continue to meet their needs is vital to this work so, in July, we held a 'Picnic in the Meadows' event to engage the community with the diverse wildlife already found at the site, through wildflower walks, bumble bee catching and butterfly netting. Ensuring people have the opportunity to have their say and learn more about the meadows and how they can help local wildlife.
There will also be more fun events to get involved with over the coming year. For more information about the fields, take a look at the community groups website: www.sosfrome.org