After a really successful three years the Save our Magnificent Meadows project has now come to an end so these pages are provided for information only. However, you can still get involved in helping transform the fortunes of our wildflower grasslands by volunteering with the Magnificent Meadows Conservation Volunteers who are continuing to work on grassland reserves throughout Mendip on the first Thursday of each month. Please click here for more info.
For information on meadows, including how to create one in your garden or on your own land, please visit the Magnificent Meadows website (link to www.magnificentmeadows.org.uk), which has a huge amount of useful information, or you can get in touch with our Mendip team, here.
As part of the Save Our Magnificent Meadows project, Somerset Wildlife Trust were eager to work with and support local communities within the Mendip Hills to restore and recreate their own meadows and grasslands. We have led activities for local school children, attended public events, provided training for landowners and offered lots of advice on wildflower meadow management. The response has been fantastic and we are now supporting four parishes with their own projects that help conserve, restore and raise awareness of local wildflower grasslands for the benefit of their community. It has been great to work with such enthusiastic people who have already achieved so much in a relatively short time!
If you would like to find out more about how you can help make your community space or garden more wildlife friendly please visit Wildlife gardening or Meadow Advice guidance.
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 its 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 create and manage wildflower areas in the parish. So far this work has involved surveying local areas to assess the restoration potential, before harvesting wildflower seed and growing on plug plants to use to restore traditional wildflower roadside verges. We have also been involved with the Priddy folk festival, running a singing workshop within a wildflower meadow.
The biggest success in Priddy has been the church yard of St Laurence. The grounds of the church already had a very good variety of plant species, but had been cut very short for many years meaning that the wildflowers did not get the chance to grow or flower. On our advice two areas of the church yard were let to grow longer and the results have been incredible!
We have also developed a leaflet with two self-guided walks to help you explore the lovely wildflower areas around the parish. Pick up a free leaflet at local businesses in Priddy, or download a copy here to start exploring
If you live in Priddy and would like to get involved with the project please get in touch with the Mendip's team.
Stoke St Michael / Leigh-on-Mendip
The Save our Magnificent Meadows team have 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 2015, 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 on in the summer, members of the group harvested seed from this site and our Edford Meadows reserve to grow on as plug plants. Members from Leigh upon Mendip also identified a strip within their recreation ground to create a new meadow area. This was prepared and seeded in late Autumn of 2016.
We also paid a visit to Stoke St Michael Primary School where the children got a chance to learn about meadows and plant their very own wildflower plug plants in to their school grounds.
If you live around these parishes and would like to get involved, please get in touch with the Mendip's team.
With support from Save Our Magnificent Meadows, the community at Cheddar Baptist church have created a wonderful wildlife habitat in their churchyard. They are managing it to allow wild flowers to flourish, only mowing the area after the flowers have had a chance to flower and set seed. Thriving plant species include Bird’s foot trefoil, Common knapweed, Cowslip, and Oxeye daisy.
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 purchase 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 2015, we held a 'Picnic in the Meadows' event to engage the community with the diverse wildlife already found at the site. We ran wildflower walks, and had a closer look at the bumblebees and butterflies living here. The event ensured that people had the opportunity to discuss their ideas and learn more about the meadows and how they can help local wildlife.
For more information about the fields & future events take a look at the community groups website: www.sosfrome.org