The power of wildflowers from the new meadow makers in Devon
Over 100 acres of meadows rich in wildflowers are due to be restored in Devon this summer on 17 properties stretching from Upper Tamar to Lower Dart.
The Plantlife Wild Plant Conservation Charity and the Moor Meadows Dartmoor Wildflower Conservation Community Group were able to partner with grassland restoration this year with funding from the Green Recovery Challenge Fund.
Plantlife’s Meadow Makers Project sees the charity working with several partners across England to achieve the ambitious goal of restoring over 1,200 acres of wildflower meadows this year, with Devon one of the priority areas . A survey of Moor Meadows Dartmoor members last year asked members what more they could do for wildflowers and wildlife if they had more resources.
The results showed that several members wanted to convert more grassland areas with currently few wildflower species to species rich grasslands for the benefit of wildlife, but they needed some support. These applicants, along with the wild plants and creatures that will thrive on their restored prairies, are the ideal beneficiaries of the new Meadow Makers Project.
Moor Meadows member Mark Walker, whose field in Ermington in South Devon will be turned into a wildflower meadow, said: ‘Encourage biodiversity by creating a network of pesticide-free areas for wildflowers, insects and other animals is, I believe, important to our survival as a species.
Moor Meadows Dartmoor Co-Founder Donna Cox of Buckfastleigh said: “This wonderful project supports the creation of meadows richer in wildflowers, a vital wildlife habitat that has all but disappeared from our countryside. Most of the wildflower seeds for the project are provided by other members with grassland rich in species.
Converting the fields and enclosures of Dartmoor with a few species of wildflowers into colorful wildlife havens will be the task of Matt Pitts, Plantlife’s Meadow advisor. He said: “It is exciting to see the enthusiasm of the people in Devon to do something tangible for wildflowers by making positive changes in their land.
“I have already been working for several years with the Duchy of Cornwall to initiate the creation of meadows in smallholdings on Dartmoor, as part of the Prince of Wales’ ambition to have a wildflower meadow on every farm in the Duchy. The Moor Meadows group were so excited to create more meadows that getting involved with them was the next logical step for wildflower conservation in Devon.
Annemarie Morris, who hopes to see her pastures near Germansweek in West Devon restored to meadows rich in wildflowers, said: “This project has provided us with a wonderful opportunity to initiate grassland restoration on our land. I used to think that the united green fields were nice to look at without realizing how much they were missing. My participation gave me the opportunity to learn more about the importance of grassland restoration for wildlife and to implement long-term changes to help restore our natural environment.
In the South Hams in Littlehempston, Sarah Jane Williamson, Managing Director of The Mare and Foal Sanctuary said: “We are delighted that our participation in the Meadow-Makers Project allows us to restore some of our hay meadows as part of our pasture. sustainable. and biodiversity approach.
This project is funded by Defra’s Green Recovery Challenge Fund. The National Lottery Heritage Fund manages the fund in partnership with Natural England, the Environment Agency and the Forestry Commission. The growing number of landowners and gardeners keen to create or restore wildflower meadows on their lands led Moor Meadows Dartmoor to launch the online Meadow-Makers’ Forum earlier this year. The forum is a place of practical advice and support for established and new grassland producers and can be found at https://forum.moremeadows.org.uk/.
Grassland Advisor Matt Pitts is Plantlife’s grassland specialist, who advises landowners across the country. Earlier this year he gave a talk titled ‘How to Create a Meadow’ as part of a series of online Moor Meadows Dartmoor events. A video of this conference is available on the “News and Events” page of the “Meadow-Makers” forum.