Save our Magnificent Meadows
Save our Magnificent Meadows is the UK’s largest partnership project which aims to transform the fortunes of the country’s vanishing wildflower meadows, grasslands and wildlife. Led by Plantlife, the partnership is formed of 11 organisations, including Somerset Wildlife Trust, and is funded primarily by the Heritage Lottery Fund.
The three year project, which began in 2014, aims to protect and restore almost 6,000 hectares of wildflower meadows and grasslands in nine strategic landscapes countrywide, including the Mendip Hills. In addition to this practical work, people all over the UK are taking the opportunity to visit and enjoy these special places. The project aims to raise awareness of the plight of wildflower meadows and grasslands, and help equip communities with the knowledge and skills to reverse this devastating trend.
Meadows on the Mendip Hills
As part of the Save our Magnificent Meadows Project, Somerset Wildlife Trust is working with local communities to help restore and recreate wildflower meadows and grasslands across the Mendip Hills. These habitats are home to a huge variety of wildlife including skylark, brown hare, orchids, bees and butterflies.
So far we have surveyed over 1,000 hectares of habitat across the Mendip Hills, engaging with almost 190 landowners. We are working closely with four local parishes, helping them to create, manage and celebrate their own meadows. We have also led and attended a wide variety of events, enhanced access to existing meadows for all to enjoy, facilitated school visits and established a team of hardworking volunteers to help with the ongoing practical grassland management work.
Keep up to date with what we have been up to below and browse our pages to find out more.
Image © Matt Sweeting
Importance of the project
Wildflower meadows and grasslands are important as they support a fantastic variety of plants, as well as providing valuable habitat for wildlife to feed and nest in. Typical plant species include bird’s-foot-trefoil, common knapweed, cowslip and yellow rattle, with different groups of plants appearing in different locations associated with altitude, geology and soil, as well as site management.
Somerset is fortunate to have pockets of good-quality grassland remaining and the Trust is working hard to safeguard and link these sites by protecting and managing nature reserves, as well as by working with landowners to restore a range of plant species. Save our Magnificent Meadows has enabled the Trust to expand its work in the Mendip Hills and offer an exciting programme of activities in which local communities and school children can get involved.
What we have been up to
This year's National Meadows Day is promising to be the biggest yet, with up to 100 events taking place across England, Scotland, N. Ireland and Wales in celebration of ancient wildflower meadows and their wildlife. People in Somerset will have the opportunity to experience first-hand the wonder of a flower-rich meadow on their doorstep.
815 Naval Air Squadron undertook a day of practical volunteering for Somerset Wildlife Trust on Monday, March 9, across several nature reserves, including Black Rock and Yoxter Range on the Mendip Hills. The squadron members meet on a termly basis to take part in fun, team-bonding activities, and decided on this occasion to use the opportunity to give something back to the community while also raising awareness of what the Royal Navy is about.
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.
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.
The fortunes of Somerset’s stunning wildflower meadows are set to be transformed with a new project on the Mendip Hills, being delivered by Somerset Wildlife Trust in its 50th anniversary year. For the first time in its history, the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) has awarded a unique partnership of conservation organisations and local councils - led by Plantlife - a significant sum for a national project to save the UK’s remaining fragments of meadow.