What We Do
We work in partnership and aim to achieve • an outstanding landscape, rich in wildlife and cultural heritage • a thriving, sustainable economy and vibrant communities • a strong connection between people and the landscape
Meadow Makers is a National Lottery Heritage Fund Green Challenge Recovery Fund project, led by Plantlife, and is part of an effort to restore meadow habitats nationally. Within the Arnside & Silverdale AONB the project is working to enhance 11 meadows and limestone grassland sites across the area.
Why Grasslands Are Important
As is widely quoted but never easy to read, meadows and other species-rich grasslands now cover less than 1% of the UK. Since the 1930’s 97% of species-rich grasslands across the country have been lost, both to intensification; such as increased livestock numbers, application of slurry and artificial fertilisers, and abandonment, with rough pasture generally being more difficult to access or utilise the grazing with more continental breeds.
Well-managed grasslands support a wide range of plants, fungi, insects, reptiles and ground nesting birds such as skylarks, curlews and meadow pipits. Insect pollinators in particular need wildflower-rich grasslands to provide food (pollen and nectar), with these in turn providing food for other wildlife including birds and bats.
Over the past few years, however, this has started to shift, with growing numbers of nature reserves, farms, verges and gardens working to increase the botanical species diversity of their grasslands, and in helping to increase insect, bird and mammal numbers.
You can find a number of different species rich grasslands in the AONB including lowland meadows, limestone pastures, fen, floodplain meadows, orchards and verges.
Species rich grasslands are vitally important habitats:
- Home and a food supply for a vast amount of wildlife
- Can help to prevent flooding in urban areas
- Store and sequester carbon – playing in a huge part in mitigating against climate change
- Produce food – look for local produce from
The Meadow Makers Project in the Arnside & Silverdale AONB
As part of the project we have been undertaking activities such as:
- carrying out soil samples
- conducting baseline botanical surveys
- harvesting seed from ‘donor’ meadows (including using Lancashire Wildlife Trust’s vacuum harvester!)
- planting seed and plug plants in ‘receptor’ meadows
Maintaining healthy meadow habitats isn’t as simple as planting some seeds and leaving them to it – meadows need to be harvested at the right time of year and properly managed over a long period in order to flourish. We have also facilitated training sessions in traditional meadow management techniques – including a scything refresher course from Steve Tomlin.