Enhancing, restoring and managing flower rich hay meadows within the scheme area, using traditional practices to increase plant diversity.
Hay meadows are crucial in so many ways; they can contain rare plants not found in any other environment, they are vital habitats for pollinating insects required for over 80% of agricultural crops, support other key wildlife and maintain the landscape to enable growth of other plants and food.
In addition to the environmental and wildlife benefits, hay meadows play an important cultural role by reinforcing an area’s heritage. To ensure heritage skills were not lost, we held scything training days to teach people how to manage their meadows in a traditional way.
Flower-rich hay meadows are rare in the scheme area, but the Magical Meadows project has focussed on changing this by working to restore several sites. As a result, their quality has been improved and they are now under correct management.
By involving local schools and the community in this project, and the overall restoration process, appreciation, enjoyment and understanding of hay meadows has been significantly increased.
- A base line survey was carried out to establish a starting point for all restored meadows. The meadows will be reviewed at a later date to assess how wildlife has improved.
- Through suitable restoration techniques, existing meadows in the area have been restored.
- A number of hay meadow educational events have been held including Community Planting Days and Wildflower Workshops.
- Five Scything Training Days were held and proved very popular, with people continuing to actively use this traditional skill.
- Members of the community, apprentices, established volunteers and Cumbria Wildlife Trust have all contributed valuable time to support the project.
The project was led by Cumbria Wildlife Trust.