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New group of “meadow makers” for Exmoor

A field of grass with very few flowers can be turned into a meadow rich in wildflowers full of bumblebees and butterflies – and all it takes is enthusiasm and a patch of land, no matter how small. be it.

This is the message to landowners and gardeners in Exmoor and surrounding areas of the Moor Meadows Dartmoor Wildflower Grassland Community Conservation Group, as an opportunity opens up for a new group of preparers in Exmoor.

The original Moor Meadows Dartmoor group has over 800 members, collectively managing over 1,100 acres of wildflower meadow in and around the national park. With only 2% of the country’s grassland habitats rich in wildflowers and wildlife, every field, paddock, cemetery, roadside and garden that can be converted into a well-managed grassland is living space for wildlife.

Residents of Exmoor concerned about the loss of wildflowers and wild animals from the countryside over the past decades now have an online space to form a new community of pickers.

With funding from the Devon Environment Foundation, Moor Meadows Dartmoor has launched the Meadow-Makers’ Forum, a place to share information and advice on creating wildflower meadows. Anyone can ask a question and get a response from all the other preparers. The forum also serves as an online hub for the creation and development of new local grassland groups under the generic name of More Meadows.

With the establishment of More Meadows groups in West Devon, South Hams and East Devon, a new grassland producer group for Exmoor has been supported by the Exmoor National Park Authority.

Exmoor NPA Conservation and Access Officer Rob Wilson-North said: “There has been a drastic decline in the species rich grasslands and grasslands on Exmoor over the past 30 years. It has also affected populations of important species, such as pollinators, which depend on it.

“We really welcome the creation of a More Meadows group on Exmoor, as we believe that the return of these remarkable ecosystems, whether on a farm, roadside, village, cemetery or school, is a very important part of the enrichment of nature on Exmoor in the years to come. “

The meadows included in the established Dartmoor group vary in size, from gardens in front of the village and a meadow on a shed roof to landholdings of tens of acres. Co-founder Donna Cox highlighted how a meadow of any size can benefit wildlife and bring a sense of satisfaction.

She said: “Everyone is welcome to join the free Meadow-Makers’ Forum, regardless of your current level of nature conservation knowledge or the size of the land you want to restore as a prairie. Wildflower meadows are a vital habitat for so many species of wild plants and insects. Birds such as swallows, swifts and house swallows will also descend on the prairies to look for food. They put on a wonderful wildlife show and really lift your spirits. And meadows can be made right on our doorstep almost anywhere in Devon. “

The group also organizes free online conferences. The latest talk, March 24, is titled How to Create a Meadow and will offer a guide on how to turn a field or patch of meadow into a wildflower-rich meadow with expert advice from Matt Pitts, meadow advisor for the Plantlife wild plant charity.

Those keen to help restore nature on Exmoor are also eligible for funding.

Rob Wilson-North of Exmoor NPA explained, “In addition to getting involved in the new More Meadows Exmoor forum, we are delighted to announce a small new ‘seed’ fund that the national park is making available for the creation and the restoration of meadows, thanks to donations. to our Caremoor for Exmoor Fund. We would love to hear from anyone interested in establishing grasslands, at any scale, as well as from people with rich flowering grasslands who may be interested in becoming a donor site.

Daisy Headley, who already manages a wildflower meadow near Dulverton, stressed the importance of a space for sharing local knowledge.

She said: “Each place has its own qualities that make it unique and Exmoor is certainly no exception. This is why it is important to build on the successes of the Dartmoor Moor meadows group and create one specifically for the sharing of knowledge and best practices specific to Exmoor.

Anyone in Exmoor keen to participate in nature reclamation and join the growing group of Devon preparers can join the Meadow-Makers’ Forum for free at http://forum.moremeadows.org.uk

Places for the “How to Create a Meadow” online conference are free but must be reserved in advance at https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/how-to-create-a-meadow-tickets- 140971831543

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