Somerset

The Somerset project area is located within the Mendip Hills, Britain’s most southerly carboniferous limestone outcrop and includes areas of lowland calcareous grassland, lowland meadows and acid grassland as well as patches of calaminarian grassland.  

These habitats have become fragmented due to quarrying and a move away from traditional farming practices, which has led to dramatic reductions in the plant and animal species that rely upon them.

Grassland ecological networks across the Mendip Hills have been identified and mapped which have allowed conservation work to be targeted in strategically important areas.  Habitat surveys have been carried out on over 1,000ha in these areas, with habitat management advice being provided to landowners and farmers to support and encourage more sympathetic management of these special grasslands.

Copyright Matt Sweeting

Landowner training

We have run a series of training events on grassland management for landowners and anyone else interested in improving their land for wildlife. On our ‘Grassland Management for Smallholders’ training day we showed people how to restore areas of wildflower meadow on their own land using green hay or wildflower seed.  We also ran two training days on how to manage your horse paddock for wildflowers; where we went to look at a horse track system, a way of keeping horses that not only increases the health of the horses, but can also benefit wildlife.

Public Events

Since the beginning of Save Our Magnificent Meadows, we have led and attended 44 events including meadow open days, local food markets, the Bath & West Show, and even Glastonbury festival!

National Meadows day in July was marked by a morning guided walk around our own Chancellors Farm reserve.  The meadows at the farm have never been improved and so have retained their amazing diversity of wildflowers and grasses, including bluebells and fragrant orchids.  The Farm is not usually open to the public as it is a working farm, so people came along to make the most of the amazing opportunity to spot the many butterflies, bees and birds using the meadows.  In the afternoon we were joined by many keen artists for the opportunity to paint and draw both the landscape and the individual plants and grasses. 

Working with Local Communities

We have been working with four local Parishes across the Mendip Hills including Priddy, Stoke St Michael/Leigh upon Mendip, Cheddar, and Frome. Community members in these areas have been busy planting plug plants in road verges, and creating new areas of wildflower meadows in their churchyards, school grounds and recreation areas.

Primary Schools

We have been working with local schools, teaching the children about the importance of meadows.  We helped them to grow their own plug plants before going out to local grassland sites that are being restored back to meadows to plant them out.

Somerset Wildlife Trust are the lead Save Our Magnificent Meadows partner in Somerset.

If you would like to find out more or get involved with the Project on the Mendip Hills please contact magnificentmeadows@somersetwildlife.org