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
Into land like this
above: Fritton Common (south of Norwich, east of Long Stratton)
donate here so we can make meadows for families and children to visit and enjoy
—————————————————————————————————————————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.
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 !).
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.
Bistort (pink) is another meadow flower – these plants almost all disappear if the meadow is sprayed or fertilised
In the foreground is hay rattle – it helps suppress vigorous grasses and maintain diversity by robbing other plants of nutrients. The seed capsules ‘rattle’ when dry. (That’s me. Chris Rose – the only blot on the landscape).
These meadows are mainly not grass, and support many hundreds of insect species as well as dozens of different flowers.
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.
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.
Some walkers enjoying the Dale.
The amazing flowers of ‘Melancholy’ thistle grow along some of the lanes. It too, needs no added fertilizer or it may die out.
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 is now an unusual hot spot for hay meadows.
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.
Help us bring back some of these glories – you can donate to the Fairy Meadow Fund here