Northumberland, Wildlife Trust

Conserving meadows

Friday, 13th May 2016, 5:00 am
A lovely field of campion is in full bloom. Picture by Jane Coltman

The Coquetdale Members’ Group of the Northumberland Wildlife Trust held its AGM in the Jubilee Hall, followed by a fascinating talk on Magnificent Meadows, by Naomi White.

Naomi, who works for the Wildlife Trust, is involved in the Save our Meadows Project, which aims to save the vanishing wildflower meadows, grasslands and their wildlife.

This project involves a partnership of 11 organisations and is primarily funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund. It is targeting nine landscapes across the UK – in total just under 6,000 hectares of wildlife meadows.

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In Northern Ireland it is concentrating on restoring traditional hay meadows, in Wales the coastal grasslands, while in Scotland the RSPB is restoring the fen meadow at Loch of Strathbeg reserve.

The project is more about grasslands than meadows.

The aim is for more people to enjoy the land and to be more aware of the threats to meadows. They are important for wild flowers, their benefit to animals, and for us.

In Northumberland, the Wildlife Trust is working on two projects.

One is the Great Whin Sill, which is a unique grassland and home to some of the UK’s rarest plants. The other project is to rediscover the grasslands on the river shingles of the Tyne, which have been affected by the mining activities of the North Pennine orefields.

These heavily contaminated areas are home to many plants that can tolerate the metals, such as mountain pansy, common rock rose, thrift and long stalked cranesbill.

The Trust will fence off areas to monitor seeds that have been sown. It is keen to have visits from schools to explain what it is doing.

The next meeting of the Coquetdale Wildlife Group will be after the summer, on Monday, September 5.

There will be a summer outing to visit Kevin Wharfe’s farm to see his wildflower meadows on June 20. (Date to be confirmed).