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Frequently Asked Questions

What level of protection do meadows have in the UK?

The UK's remaining meadows and species-rich grasslands now cover a minute fraction of the area they once covered and of those that do survive around 75% occur in small fragments and remain vulnerable to destruction. When it comes to nature conservation our meadows and grasslands have yet to attain the significance and attention that our woodlands and wetlands enjoy. Save Our Magnificent Meadows aims to bring about a widespread change in the public’s perception and interaction with meadows and species-rich grasslands, and to inspire a shift change in our conservation and land management priorities.

Some species-rich grasslands in the UK are protected as Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). For example, in the Somerset Mendips, just under half of all surviving semi-natural habitat is protected and at least 630ha of valuable wildlife-rich grassland lies outside of nature reserves. 20% of south-east England’s chalk grassland is found in Kent but only one third is SSSI.

How can I get involved in Save Our Magnificent Meadows?

You can get involved in Save Our Magnificent Meadows in a variety of ways:

  • Take part in a plant or animal monitoring survey.
  • Visit a meadow or event taking place near you.
  • Help out at public events being organised in your area.
  • Join a conservation work party in your local area.

Visit the What’s On and Volunteering pages to find out more about how to get involved.

I would like to visit a meadow with my family, what activities are there?

This is a wide range of exciting events and activities taking place at meadows and grasslands across the UK as part of Save Our Magnificent Meadows, visit our What’s On page to find out what is happening near you.

There is a range of downloadable family resources available to help you explore meadows and get the most from your visit.

When is the best time of year to visit a meadow?

The nature that thrives in meadows and wildlife-rich grasslands can be enjoyed throughout the year, whether it is flowers and butterflies in the summer, fungi in the autumn, or flocks of birds feeding on the invertebrate-rich soils in the winter. So you can enjoy visiting a meadow at any time of the year.

To see meadows at their most colourful the best time to visit for early flowering species can be around mid May and later flowering species like Devils Bit Scabious and Common Knapweed can appear until mid August, although this varies depending where in the country you are so you will need to find out what is happening in your area. Bear in mind that hay cutting starts around mid July depending on weather conditions and seasonal patterns.

To find out more about what is happening near you visit our What’s On page.

How can I find a meadow near me to visit?

Although many meadows are privately owned and managed as farmland there are lots that are owned or managed by a local wildlife trust or other conservation body and have public access.

One of the best ways to visit a meadow is to take part in an event - have a look at our What’s On page to find the nearest Save our Magnificent Meadows activity taking place near you.

Many of the Magnificent Meadows partners have meadow and grassland sites that can be visited:

  • Plantlife has 23 reserves across the UK, many of which are meadows.
  • In Northumberland, both Walltown Quarry , owned by the Northumberland National Park Authority, and Williamston, a Northumberland Wildlife Trust Reserve have public access and are well worth a visit.
  • In Ceredigion, the National Trust has a path running through its meadow at the Llanerchaeron Estate, other beautiful wonderful meadow sites with public access are Cwm Tydu and Cwm Soden.
  • Bo’mains Meadow, Falkirk, easily accessible and Fleecefaulds Meadow, Fife, with more of a walk to reach it, are both owned by the Scottish Wildlife Trust and stunning when in flower.
  • The Loch of Strathbeg Reserve in Aberdeenshire is open to the public but if you would like to visit the Magnificent Meadows project area and see the Konik ponies you would need to make prior arrangements with RSPB Scotland to do so or join in with the guided walks they are organising there over the summer months.
  • In Wiltshire you can visit good examples of meadow conservation at Blakehill farm, Lower Moor farm, Coombe Bissett down and Morgans Hill all owned by Wiltshire Wildlife Trust and near Amesbury there is Winterbourne Downs nature reserve, owned by RSPB, great for flower-filled chalk grasslands.

Additional places to see wildflower meadows:

Coronation Meadows are outstanding examples of flower-rich grasslands, many of which can be visited. The Wildlife Trusts have reserves all over the UK where you can visit meadows and fritillary meadows.