National Meadows Day takes place every year on the first Saturday of July. It is a chance to visit meadows at their peak, to celebrate them, have fun and raise awareness of this forgotten, lost habitat (over 97% of meadows have disappeared since the Second World War!). This year, National Meadow Day is on Saturday 2nd July, and Magnificent Meadows is giving people all over the UK the chance to visit, enjoy and learn about our wildflower meadows and grasslands, and wants to raise awareness of the desperate plight of our wildflower meadows and grasslands as well as to equip communities with the knowledge and skills to reverse this devastating trend.
Meadow Landscape in Northumberland – copyright Naomi Waite
Here are 7 facts Magnificent Meadows want you to know!
- The first National Meadows Day was held on 4th July 2015, when a range of meadow and grassland based events and activities took place at nature reserves, country parks and other sites across the UK.
Nearly 7.5 million acres of wildflower meadow have been lost so far and they are still being destroyed. Of those that do survive, around ¾ are small fragments and remain vulnerable to destruction.
There are just 10,500 ha of lowland hay meadow remaining in the UK. Upland hay meadows are even rarer: just 900 ha survive, mainly in northern England.
- A typical meadow can be home to over 150 species of wild plants and flowers. These are essential resources that support our other wildlife. Bird’s-foot trefoil is a foodplant for 153 species of insect. Many wild bees rely on meadows for a supply of nectar and pollen.
- Many once familiar wild meadow flowers are become increasingly threatened. Both ragged-Robin and Harebell are heading towards being classed as “threatened with extinction” in England.
National Meadows Day, Making Flowers – copyright Mary Tate
- Species-rich grasslands provide other environmental benefits including carbon storage, water retention to prevent flooding and habitat for crop pollinators, they are also archaeologically important.
- Culturally speaking grasslands have a long history of inspiring artists and writers such as Constable and Shakespeare, they are the landscape setting for many of our most important historical battles, village greens have long been the hub of rural community life, and many a common day phrase take their origin from grasslands…”off to pastures new” and “chalk and cheese”.
Save our Magnificent Meadows is a partnership of 11 organisations such as National Trust Wales, RSPB, is led by Plantlife and is primarily funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), it is the UK’s largest partnership project transforming the fortunes of vanishing wildflower meadows, grassland and wildlife. Over 100 meadow and grassland based events and activities will be taking place at nature reserves, country parks and other sites across the UK that are aimed at the whole family – events include guided walks, open days with family activities, kids craft days, scything activities, photography walks and much more! For more information, competitions and to see what is happening at a meadow near you, visit the Magnificent Meadows website: www.magnificentmeadows.org.uk