Wildflowers for the Meadows
Wildflowers for the Meadows works with communities in the Forest of Bowland to enhance our wildflower meadow habitats for bees and other wildlife and create a sustainable future for our wildflowers.
Stephen Park meadows in the Forest of Bowland
The Forest of Bowland is a haven for wildflowers, but the species-rich meadows where they thrive are vulnerable habitats that have become increasingly scarce because of agricultural intensification.
That’s why our work to restore hay meadows in the Forest of Bowland is so important – so far helping to restore 100 hectares of wildflower hay meadows since 2012 as well as 30 nectar patches, providing new homes for bees, butterflies and other pollinators and helping to protect our native wildflowers.
Meadow restoration can take several years, but with seed addition and traditional management meadows become more botanically diverse over time. But restoration and traditional management alone can’t always recreate a meadow of the correct native species mix. And that's where Wildflowers for the Meadows comes in!
In our work to date in the Forest of Bowland meadow restoration has been successful apart from the notable absence of some species of native meadow plants that can be difficult to establish. Species like knapweed, bush vetch, tufted vetch, meadow vetchling, great burnet and melancholy thistle that flower and seed late in the season are often missed from restoration schemes that are reliant on moving green hay from field to field. These plants often need to be added separately.
Working with communities
Working with community groups and volunteers we collect seed from hay meadows and verges in the Forest of Bowland, grow them on into hundreds of wildflower plug plants and then plant these back out into the edges of restored meadow sites. These plants are characteristic species which are difficult to establish and often missing in a restored meadow - like knapweed and meadow vetchling.
Each community group is twinned with a nearby meadow or nectar patch so they can develop a long-term connection with it.
Wildflowers for the Meadows provides the inspiration, training and resources to enable more people to look after our meadows and increase their botanical diversity over time. In this way we aim to create a sustainable future for our wildflowers.