Updated: Feb 8
Grassland is a vital part of the world's ecological systems, with many plants, fungi and insects having adapted specifically to survive and thrive in the meadows and grassy margins that have been managed by humans for centuries.
However, species-rich grassland is a habitat that has been in steep decline in the last 80 years or so, with some estimates saying that we have lost up to 97% of wild-flower-rich meadows in the last 90 years. Given that grassland is not just a home to diverse range of species, but also stores carbon, prevents flooding, is productive land for animal feed, and is a part of our cultural heritage as productive land (ref: MoorMeadows key facts), it really is worth protecting and restoring... and this blog will start you off on how to do that!
Growing Better Connections is working with several landowners in North Pembrokeshire, to support them in improving their meadows. We've collected some information, advice and guidance here for anyone else interested in doing the same or just finding out more.
Help with meadows creation in Pembrokeshire:
The wonderful organisation Plantlife is leading a diverse group of partners to deliver the Magnificent Meadows Cymru project. This project aims to increase the hectares of species-rich grassland in Wales, improve peoples' awareness of its importance and the skills needed to create it, as well as demonstrate the wellbeing potential of meadows.
A 'Pembrokeshire Meadows Group' is being set up as of late January 2021 - contact Plantlife's Lucia Chmurova for more information firstname.lastname@example.org
Pembrokeshire Coast National Park have been working on the Conserving the Park project for over 15 years, specifically aimed at maximising the wildlife benefits of land within the park, including grassland. The Park authority can offer bespoke support to landowners.
Local meadows you could visit, and places to learn skills
Dyfed Permaculture Trust teach scything and other low-impact land management skills - they manage their own magnificent meadows for biodiversity (and hay!)
The Welsh Wildlife Centre at Cilgerran have species-rich grassland amongst the many other habitats you can visit there
Other resources for inspiration:
This webinar from Centre for Alternative Technology on 24th of February 2021 is a step-by-step guide of how a meadow can be restored (the webinars go on YouTube after the broadcast date, if you missed it!)
A lovely film from a member of the Carmarthenshire Meadows Group showing how many species will return to a meadow if it's managed well.
A beautiful guide to the Wild Orchids of Wales - Detailing how and where to find them.