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National Meadows Day

Today is #NationalMeadowsDay, an annual celebration of our wildflower meadows across the UK.

Wildflowers are defined as our native species of flowers that have been unaltered by people. They are an incredibly important habitat, supporting as many as 1,400 species of insect – they can quite literally be humming with life! – and this in turn supports an even greater number of animals.

Sadly, there has been a catastrophic 97% decline in our wildflower meadows since the 1930s as a result of intensified agricultural practices – that’s nearly 7.5 million acres lost! However, Norfolk Rivers Trust is involved in an exciting project, working with local partners and public and private landowners, to reverse this decline by creating, restoring, enhancing and preserving wildflower habitats across Norfolk.

 

Arrival of seed rich bales to Poringland Parish land © Henry Walker

Volunteers hay strewing at Poringland as part of the Botanica project © Henry Walker

Funded by the Botanica by Air Wick UK and WWF partnership project, which seeks to restore or create 20 million sq. ft of British wildflower habitats over the next three years, we aim to support our wildflower meadows by delivering vital habitat restoration work across the Broadland, Cam and Ely Ouse (CamEO) and Norfolk catchments. We have already delivered 18 hectares (approx. 2 million sq. ft) of wildflower habitat restoration in Norfolk through arable reversion (reverting cultivated land to natural habitat), fencing pastures to allow grazing as a management tool, assisting with sustainable management plans and practices, enhancing seed mixes with locally hand-collected seed and spreading green hay (cutting and collecting species-rich grassland to spread on other sites to improve the floristic diversity). These methods are just some of the techniques we are using to restore meadows, preserve and manage existing flower-rich grasslands, create new wildflower habitats (including on floodplains), enhance on-farm grazing pasture and establish diverse wildflower habitats to increase pollen and nectar sources for pollinators and other insects.

We encourage you to head out this weekend and immerse yourself in these beautiful habitats – whether it be in your garden, a nature reserve or a wildflower patch near you – and celebrate our incredible wildflowers and everything they have to offer!

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