Thursday, 1 October 2015

Coronation Meadows: a northern connection

Helen Baczkowska, Conservation Officer

In July, I spent a soggy week on Mull, the dismal weather thankfully balanced by the wonderful wildlife of the island – white tailed sea eagle, hen harriers, an otter family splashing on rocks, a late corncrake calling and, most exciting of all for a flower lover, the surprise of finding the Coronation Meadow for Argyll and Bute on the western headland of Tresnish.

Volunteers spread green hay at Fir Grove, photo Henry Walker, FWAG
The Coronation Meadows project, as many readers know, is a national initiative founded by HRH Prince Charles and working as a partnership between The Wildlife Trusts, the Rare Breeds Survival Trust and Plantlife. Coronation Meadows aims to reverse the decline in traditional hay meadows aims to create new meadows in every county of England, Scotland and Wales, using seed from existing flower-rich meadows.  


Rachael Long with Sulphur Clover
successfully established at Fir Grove
photo by Henry Walker, FWAG
In Norfolk, over the past three years, NWT has worked with the Farming and Wildlife Advisory Group (FWAG) to collect seeds for a group of road verges in the South Norfolk Claylands. These small nature reserves contain flowers such as cowslip and pepper saxifrage, dyer’s greenweed and the nationally scarce sulphur clover. The first of two new meadows, near Wymondham, is coming along well, with more wild flowers every year and a further new site in Diss, at the Quaker Wood community woodland, is also being established.

North of the border, on my one sunny walk of my holiday, the flora was quite different from that of the South Norfolk boulder-clays. The Haunn meadow, on Mull, is lime rich, on slopes facing gently westwards towards the Atlantic and exceptionally diverse.  Species I spotted included frog orchid, field gentian and greater butterfly orchid, along with yellow rattle, eyebright and devil’s-bit scabious.  Wetter area had bog asphodel and lesser spearwort, while nearby acidic areas had harebell and Lady’s bedstraw. 

No comments:

Post a Comment