Somerset Wildlife Trust will be out and about this winter with a meadow-themed market stall as part of the nationwide Save our Magnificent Meadows project, starting at Wells Food Festival on Sunday, October 12. From October to January, members of the Trust’s Magnificent Meadows team will be roving the markets of Wells, Cheddar, Shepton Mallet and Frome with their stall, seeking to raise awareness of the plight of wildflower meadows and get local people involved in reversing this devastating trend.
A three-year project to restore meadows
Save our Magnificent Meadows is the UK’s largest partnership project transforming the fortunes of the country’s vanishing wildflower meadows, grasslands and wildlife. Led by Plantlife, the partnership is made up of eleven organisations, including Somerset Wildlife Trust, and is primarily funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund. The market stall is just one element of a three-year project to restore and recreate wildflower meadows, as well as equipping local communities and school children with the skills and knowledge to conserve them.
Dr Pippa Rayner, Community Engagement Officer for the Trust’s Save our Magnificent Meadows project, said: “The Mendip Hills have such amazing meadows, supporting numerous plants and providing valuable habitat for wildlife, which is why it’s so important for us to look after them. The market stall is going to be a great way to get the message out there and let people know what they can do to help.”
Wells Food Festival on Sunday, October 12
On Sunday, October 12, the Magnificent Meadows team will be taking the sights and sounds of a summer meadow to Wells Food Festival, with the launch of their market stall. As part of the programme of events at the festival, Dr Rayner will also be giving a talk titled ‘Food & Farming for a Living Landscape’ at 1.30pm in the Town Hall. The stall will go on to tour local farmers markets across the Mendips for the next three years, as the team engage local interest in meadows, discussing the benefits they bring and what can be done to conserve them.
Wells Food Festival was established in 2013 to celebrate Somerset produce. The first event, a Great Somerset Sunday Lunch, attracted over 3,500 people and offered a variety of lunches, talks, markets and a vintage tea party, as well as providing visitors with the opportunity to sample a variety of local food and drink. This year’s festival on Sunday, October 12, seeks to increase awareness of what the county has to offer and to support its local producers, farmers and the economy of Wells’ food shops and market.
Enjoy a Forgotten Feast
Eco chef Tom Hunt will also be at the festival with his roaming restaurant, Forgotten Feast, to prepare the Autumn Banquet for 150 people to enjoy in a three-course lunch in The Bishop’s Barn. Forgotten Feast supports the use of wild or wasted food, much of which will have been gathered or donated by volunteers. Tickets cost £30 and are available here.
Tickets for Dr Rayner’s talk, ‘Food & Farming for a Living Landscape’, can be booked here.