Incredible Meadows for You

UPDATED June 2016

Please support the Fairy Meadow Fund and help us bring back flower-filled meadows for families and children to enjoy – see more here

The Fairy Meadow Fund aims to change land like this

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Into land like this

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above: Fritton Common (south of Norwich, east of Long Stratton)

Fairy Meadow Fund donate here  so we can make meadows for families and children to visit and enjoy

Find a meadow to visit near you

—————————————————————————————————————————Meadows blog from 2015

To celebrate National Meadows Day (July 4th) run by Plantlife and partners, why not make a donation to our Fairy Meadow Fund ?  The money will go to taking some barren land and creating a vibrant wildflower meadow for families to visit and play in.  To inspire you (and give you an idea for a great place to visit if you can) here are some pictures we took last week on a trip to Muker, in a wonderful part of Swaledale in the Yorkshire Dales National Park.

Muker Swaledale 26-06-2015 17-39-43 28-06-2015 10-09-22

Red clover (bees love it), buttercups and Wood Cranesbill (purply) in a meadow at Muker, amongst many other flowers

The meadows of Muker are hay meadows cut and managed in the traditional centuries old way and low in fertility which enables dozens of beautiful flowers to co-exist together.  You can find out all about them at the great Hay Time project website.   Too far away ?  Then have a look at these events for 4 July or if you are in Norfolk try Fritton Common (see photo on Fairy Meadow Page – though we are not sure when it gets cut !).

Muker Swaledale 26-06-2015 17-39-43 28-06-2015 09-23-01

If visiting please keep to the path, to avoid trampling the hay.  The old stone barns are used to store hay to feed to cattle in winter.

Muker Swaledale 26-06-2015 17-39-43 28-06-2015 09-18-51

Muker Swaledale 26-06-2015 17-39-43 26-06-2015 18-54-057

Bistort (pink) is another meadow flower – these plants almost all disappear if the meadow is sprayed or fertilised

Muker Swaledale 26-06-2015 17-39-43 26-06-2015 18-40-54

Muker Swaledale 26-06-2015 17-39-43 26-06-2015 18-44-18

In the foreground is hay rattle – it helps suppress vigorous grasses and maintain diversity by robbing other plants of nutrientsThe seed capsules ‘rattle’ when dry.  (That’s me. Chris Rose – the only blot on the landscape).

Muker Swaledale 26-06-2015 17-39-43 26-06-2015 18-42-43

These meadows are mainly not grass, and support many hundreds of insect species as well as dozens of different flowers. 

Muker Swaledale 26-06-2015 17-39-43 26-06-2015 19-45-15

Wood Cranesbill – its seed needs to be frozen to germinate so it is restricted to colder upland climes.  The bright blue Meadow Cranesbill replaces it in the lowlands.

Muker Swaledale 26-06-2015 17-39-43 28-06-2015 09-42-30

Eyebright (right) and Hay Rattle left.  Eyebright is another partial parasite of grass roots and helps other flowers flourish by stopping big grasses taking over.

Muker Swaledale 26-06-2015 17-39-43 26-06-2015 18-31-18

Muker Swaledale 26-06-2015 17-39-43 26-06-2015 18-31-05

Some walkers enjoying the Dale.

Muker Swaledale 26-06-2015 17-39-43 26-06-2015 20-21-22

The amazing flowers of ‘Melancholy’ thistle grow along some of the lanes.  It too, needs no added fertilizer or it may die out.

Muker Swaledale 26-06-2015 17-39-43 26-06-2015 18-01-00

Less than 3% of the hay meadows like this that once were common in England, now survive. the Fairy Meadow Fund is designed to try and bring back something like it although it will take a long time to re-create anything as rich as this.

Muker Swaledale 26-06-2015 17-39-43 26-06-2015 17-47-10

Muker is now an unusual hot spot for hay meadows.

Muker Swaledale 26-06 15 ex hay meadow cut for silage with barn

Above: an ex-hay meadow in Swaledale, now fertilised and cut for silage not hay.  The hay barn is still there but the hay meadow has gone.  Most of the Dales now look more like this but the Hay Time project is trying to restore some of them.

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Hay rattle (yellow), Red Clover and Eyebright with some Lesser Stitchwort behind

Muker Swaledale 26-06-2015 17-39-43 26-06-2015 18-22-12

Muker Swaledale 26-06-2015 17-39-43 26-06-2015 18-43-13

Help us bring back some of these glories – you can donate to the Fairy Meadow Fund here

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