How can I restore or create a meadow?

There are four common methods that can be used to restore or recreate wildflower grasslands (see downloads below).

Consider keeping the wild in wildflower and sustaining the local distinctiveness of grasslands in your area - for more information see Natural England's TIN038 on seed sources for grassland restoration.

Creating a wildflower grassland is a tricky process and may not succeed, even when following the methods precisely. Future management is essential for wildflowers to thrive.

Some activities might require an Environmental Impact Assessment screening, such as clearing scrub. We have produced a briefing which provides more information about when this process may be required and a more in-depth guidance note for England.

Most wildflower seed does not last long in the soil seed bank and some additional seed may be needed. The plant yellow rattle can be used to facilitate the restoration process. There are various methods of adding seed, all with their advantages and disadvantages. Site preparation creating bare ground suitable for seeds is as important as the sowing as the seeds will not germinate if they do not have suitable conditions. Coronation Meadows have produced a useful photographic guide to creating bare ground for grassland restoration. The seed mixture should be appropriate for the type of grassland considering the soil pH and moisture. See our guidance note on common reasons why wildflower restorations are unsuccessful for more information on common issues encountered.

Explore the advice sheets and case studies below to find out more use the advice and guidance flow-chart to continue working through the restoration process. Buglife have produced a simple guide to creating a community meadow, but you may wish to still look at the step-by-step guides as it can be a difficult process. Lincolnshire Wildlfie Trust have produced a short how to create a wildflower meadow video (first video), and for something fun see this short video on sowing wildflower seed in Fermanagh produced by Ulster Wildlife Trust.

Case Study: Ready-made mini-meadows

Transplanting species-rich turf to create mini-meadows

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Case Study: Spreading the word and spreading the hay

Restoring a hay meadow, pond and making invertebrate mounds

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