Celebrating our meadows at Bodnant Garden

Old Park meadow in summer with Bodnant Hall in distance

On Saturday, July 1, we're inviting visitors to go barefoot in the Old Park Meadow in aid of National Meadows Day.

It's part of the Save Our Magnificent Meadows campaign led by the conservation body Plantlife and funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) to halt the national decline in meadows and their wildlife.

Today in the UK there remains only 3% of the meadows which existed in the 1930s – that’s a loss of 7.5 million acres of wild flower grassland. Many iconic meadow species such as ragged robin, harebell and field scabious are now on a watch list while wood-bitter vetch has disappeared from England, Scotland and most of its stronghold in Wales.

National Trust Wales is a leading partner in the campaign and events are taking place around the country this weekend. At Bodnant Garden we manage three wildflower grasslands - the Old Park (opened to the public in 2012), Furnace Meadow (newly opened in 2017) and Cae Poeth Meadow (opening 2019.)

Summer stroll

Events officer Charlie Stretton says: “Come along and enjoy a barefoot walk, just for the fun of it, and experience first-hand the wonder of a flower-rich meadow. Join the butterflies, birds and bees for a perfect summer stroll. If you like you can pick up one of our wildflower checklists to do your own nature trail, and help us identify what’s doing well in our meadow.

“We have a grassland management plan to take care of all our meadows, which involves low level annual maintenance - avoiding feeds and herbicides, mechanically removing bracken, thistles, docks and nettles, cutting grass and removing the hay in August, grazing the land with sheep in the autumn, also collecting and sowing the seeds of species such as Yellow Rattle to encourage more wildflowers.

“Just as importantly, we’re extending access to these areas so visitors can enjoy them, whether that’s through informal strolls, nature trails or scything workshops. So join us on Saturday and throughout the summer to enjoy our beautiful old meadow.”

Conservation issue

Plantlife's  Dr Trevor Dines says the decline of meadows and species-rich grasslands is one of the biggest issues in the history of UK nature conservation: “If 97% of our woodland was destroyed there’d be a national outcry but meadows have disappeared from our lives quietly. Without the roar of chainsaws or the sound of oaks crashing to the ground, a meadow can be ploughed up, unnoticed, in an afternoon."

Save our Magnificent Meadows aims to restore more than 14,000 acres of wildflower meadows across the UK. This year's National Meadows Day is promising to be the biggest yet, with events taking place across the UK.

For more information about Save Our Magnificent Meadows and National Meadows Day events near you, go to http://www.magnificentmeadows.org.uk