Over the last fifty years 97% of meadows in the UK have been lost, putting hundreds of species of wildflowers and plants, bees, birds and other native wildlife at risk. Meadow Links aims to restore hay meadow habitats along our ecological networks – creating wildflower superhighways that will help wildlife move across the Yorkshire Dales landscape.
Meadow Links is an ambitious, community driven project that is helping to restore wildflower rich hay meadows along our ecological networks. Our aim is to create wildflower superhighways to help our bees, other pollinators and wildlife to travel across the Yorkshire Dales landscape.
People are at the heart of Meadow Links with communities coming together to conserve their local wildlife by creating community meadows and wildlife patches that connect existing fragmented habitats and help reduce biodiversity loss.
Why are wildflower meadows important?
It’s the abundance and diversity of plant species that make wildflower rich hay meadows so valuable for wildlife. They can contain up to 120 different species of flowering plants and grasses, provide feeding areas for bees, butterflies, spiders and a host of other invertebrates, and attract brown hares, wood mice, bats and birds.
Hay meadows are nationally important as high nature conservation value areas, but over the last 100 years 97% have been lost. Although the Yorkshire Dales is one of the few strongholds for our remaining meadows, even here fragmentation of these habitats into small isolated sites has resulted in a dramatic loss of biodiversity.
Bringing back our meadows
Meadow Links builds on the work we've already done to restore species-rich hay meadows in the Yorkshire Dales and Forest of Bowland. Read about the Hay Time project and find out how hay meadow restoration works.
Meadow Links aims to:
- Increase wildflower species in 35 hectares of degraded hay meadow using restoration methods developed through our award-winning Hay Time work
- Create ten community meadows across the Yorkshire Dales to mark ten years of our Hay Time meadow restoration work
- Support local people to create wildlife meadows in their own community space, providing funding for equipment and practical training sessions to enable groups to maintain their meadows in years to come
- Provide practical sessions and advice for schools, community groups and landowners, to create 30 wildlife patches that will act as stepping stones at strategic points to extend the hay meadow networks
- Train volunteers to independently monitor species along ecological networks and other meadow sites.
Conservation work we carry out will be mapped and recorded to help provide a clear picture of what work has been done on the ground to create a cohesive and resilient network for wildlife across the Yorkshire Dales, and highlight where further action needs to be taken.
One in five British wildflower species are under threat. Help save our wildflower meadows and support the hundreds of species of wildlife they are home to.