The grassland of the Lower Severn Vale Levels has been used as pasture for centuries but changes in farming including the use of chemicals, increased silage production and a decrease in grazing has all contributed to the loss of flower-rich meadows. Grasslands, which were once vibrant with colour and buzzing with life, are now often made up of just a handful of species of grasses.
Species-rich grasslands and meadows can support a huge range of wildlife including wildflowers, which in turn provide habitats for a myriad of insects, small mammals, bats and birds. They are one of our most species-rich habitats in the UK.
A Forgotten Landscape therefore aimed to restore botanically rich grassland at four sites. Demonstration events taught participants about all stages of meadow creation, from harvesting seed to cultivation and management, enabling and inspiring people to take on their own projects.
Why restore meadows?
Unimproved grassland, such as meadows, is a haven for wildflowers, which provide food and shelter for invertebrates like bees and butterflies. Meadows also support species higher up the food chain. For example, voles living in rough, unimproved grassland provide food for threatened species such as barn owls.
Save Our Magnificent Meadows is the UK’s largest partnership project working to support wildflower meadows, grasslands and wildlife.
The Bumblebee Conservation Trust also has useful advice on grassland restoration.
You may also be interested in the Avon Wildlife Trust’s Wildflower Grasslands Project.
Did You Know?
Wildflower meadows are one of our most diverse yet most threatened habitats:
- Of the meadows that existed in the 1930s, only 2% remain
- More than 10% of the plants associated with unimproved grassland are now on the ‘Red List’ of endangered species