Making Meadows in Snowdonia
Taking a stroll through a flower-rich meadow on a warm summer’s day can be a real treat for the senses. But sadly a staggering 97% of meadows have disappeared since the 1930s. Our rangers are working hard to encourage more flower-rich grasslands in Snowdonia that will help benefit a range of wildlife from butterflies to rare birds.
Since 2011, we have created or restored almost a dozen meadows and are working with local farmers, the RSPB and Plantlife to increase this number dramatically in the next few years.
Starting with the seeds
To help maintain the provenance and character of our local meadows it’s important to seek a mixture of local seeds.
As part of Plantlife’s Coronation Meadows project, one of our meadows near Penmachno has been recognised as a mature meadow that can donate seeds to help establish new meadows.
This Coronation meadow is brimming with wildlfowers including devils bit scabious, the food plant of the rare marsh fritillary butterfly. Seeds from here have been collected by our rangers and scattered in fields in the Beddgelert and Nant Ffrancon valleys.
A buffet for rare birds
The Nant Ffrancon Valley is one of the UK’s strongholds for a rare bird called twite. These small brown birds are part of the finch family and breed in the uplands but feast on meadows. Some of their favourite foods include the seeds from dandelion, common sorrel, thistle and autumn hawkbit.
We’ve been working with our tenants and RSPB to introduce more meadows into this valley. The meadows are rich in the twite’s favouraite foods, helping to ensure they have enough food to see them through the busy breeding season.
Careful management is required, including scarifying, cutting, and winter grazing before and after sowing seeds in order to give them a good chance at germinating and growing.
Some sites require several inoculations of seeds, but meadows are by nature, habitats developed over years of management.
Every little helps
In addition to creating meadows, we've been busy planting wildflowers around our offices and holiday cottages. These little islands of wildflowers help to bridge the gaps between meadows.
And you can help too, by turning your garden into a wildflower haven for butterflies, bees and birds.