Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust (YDMT) and the Forest of Bowland Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) are on a mission to restore wildflower hay meadows.
Together they will deliver ‘Haytime Rescue’. This is a new 14 month partnership project supported by a grant of almost £20,000 from the Lancashire Environmental Fund.
Isobel Hall, programme manager at YDMT, said:
“With support from local volunteers, farmers and specialist growers at Kew Wakehurst Millennium Seed Bank, we aim to bolster populations of rare species of wildflowers in Bowland. These species include melancholy thistle, globeflower and birds eye primrose.”
The project will deliver training and support for volunteers. This will help them learn about propagating plants from sustainably sourced seed. It will also cover how to ‘foster’ the plug plants, looking after them until they are large enough to grow out into suitable sites across Bowland.
Sarah Robinson, Farming and Wildlife officer from Forest of Bowland AONB, said:
“We’ve selected specific sites to receive the plug plants. It is very important to have the correct physical and biological attributes, as well as the right management, in order for the plug plants to thrive. Volunteers will help plant out the young plants and will revisit the sites to track progress.”
In addition to this specific species work, the projects will help ongoing field scale restoration of hay meadows. This will continue to restore the network of species-rich sites across the AONB which is so vital to the species which rely on them. Open days will be held for people to see the results of the restoration work.
Andy Rowett, fund manager at Lancashire Environmental Fund, commented:
“This is the fourth time the Fund has supported hay meadow restoration work in the AONB with YDMT. We look forward to seeing the return of some of the rarer wildflowers to the Forest of Bowland hay meadows.”
YDMT and the Forest of Bowland AONB have reintroduced wildflowers to more than 700 hectares of degraded meadows across the region since 2006. It is making important strides in helping to safeguard meadows and the hundreds of species of native wildlife.
Unfortunately, wildflower meadows are still one of the most threatened habitats in Britain. With 97% of traditional species-rich meadows lost since the second world war, much more still needs doing.
YDMT welcomes support for this important restoration work. Please visit www.ydmt.org/haytime or call 015242 51002 to find out more.