Oxeye daisies, buttercups, red clover, ragged robin, knapweed and field scabious – the beauty of Wiltshire’s wildflower meadows is a wonder for everyone to enjoy.
Next weekend, to celebrate these special places, and to raise awareness of their striking decline, the first ever National Meadows Day is being launched on Saturday 4 July.
“I’ve always loved wildflower meadows as they are in essence the very best that summer has to offer,” says TV presenter and naturalist Mike Dilger, who is proud to be supporting National Meadows Day.
“They are home to a wealth of rare plants and wildlife, and are fantastic places to nourish the body, mind and soul. I can count very few pleasures more enjoyable than visiting a meadow in the height of summer and getting down to the plants’ level with little more than my plant identification book and an eye lens.
“However, in recent years, we have lost an astonishing number of our meadows. That’s why National Meadows Day is so important. This day of celebration is about engaging the public with these most precious of green spaces and showing what can be done to restore them, and ensure their safety for future generations.”
Three events are taking place in Wiltshire to celebrate National Meadows Day:
- Wiltshire Wildlife Trust have an Open Meadows Day at their Blakehill Farm Nature Reserve near Cricklade, giving people the chance to explore and enjoy meadows in all their glory with live music, guided walks, yoga and photography workshops, scything demonstrations, craft activities, burgers and much mores – from 1pm-5pm.
- Wiltshire Wildlife Trust will also be holding a guided walk at Ham Hill Nature Reserve, Shalbourne, from 12.30 – 4pm. People are invited to bring a picnic to this beautiful chalk downland site with its splendid wildflowers and other wildlife.
- The RSPB are hosting a Wildflower Folklore Walk from 2-4pm at Winterbourne Downs, Newton Tony (near Salisbury), an afternoon discovering the folklore of meadow wildflowers.
National Meadows Day is set to do for wildflower meadows what Open Farm Sunday has done for farming – help the public to connect and fall in love with the countryside, and gain a better understanding of why these vital habitats need our help.
The campaign is being organised by Save Our Magnificent Meadows – the UK’s largest partnership project to transform the fortunes of our vanishing wildflower meadows, grasslands and wildlife, led by Plantlife and primarily funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF).
Marian Spain, Chief Executive of Plantlife, says: “I can’t think of a more pleasurable place to be than a meadow in midsummer but for many people this is now only a dream. Meadows have, for too long, been the Cinderellas of the conservation world – lesser known, lesser protected and lesser funded than other habitats.”
“National Meadows Day and The Save Our Magnificent Meadows partnership are giving them the attention they deserve.” Patrick Cashman, RSPB Wiltshire Reserves Manager, says: “People have said that they feel it is like stepping into a Victorian landscape when visiting RSPB Winterbourne Downs, and we will take this idea to celebrate National Meadows Day by exploring the historical uses and mythology surrounding our meadow flora on a wildflower folklore walk.”
“Blakehill Nature Reserve is one of the UK’s largest grassland restoration projects,” says Toos van Noordwijk, Wiltshire Wildlife Trust’s Magnificent Meadows Officer, “Wildflower meadows are hugely calming places, satisfying all your senses. You can feel the long grass between your fingers, smell the bouquet of wildflowers, watch the sea of colour and hear the crickets and bees chirping and buzzing along.”
“On National Meadows Day we’re inviting people to enjoy meadows in all their glory with a wide range of activities at Blakehill Farm. Why not bring your camera along and enter the National Meadows Photography Competition on the day?”
For more information visit: