Staff and volunteers at the county’s leading conservation organisation are celebrating after being awarded a grant to save two small wildflower meadows for the future.
A grant of £18,500 has been received from Biffa Award as part of the Landfill Communities Fund for the purchase and protection of Merries Farm Meadows Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). The one hectare site is an important part of a series of wildflower-rich meadows around the Birtsmorton area in the south of the county.
David Molloy, Worcestershire Wildlife Trust’s Conservation Officer with responsibility for the site, explained “Although these two meadows are quite small, they provide a rich variety of habitats for flowers and wildlife. There are a number of mature oaks along the boundary as well as hawthorn and blackthorn hedges on all sides; there’s even a small pond.
“We’d like to say a big thank you to Biffa Award for helping us to buy and protect this small area for the future.”
The Trust are particularly grateful to the previous owner, Lynn Hunter, for giving the charity the opportunity to buy the meadows and for allowing them 12 months to raise the funds to do so.
England’s lost meadows
England has lost about 97% of lowland wildflower meadows since World War Two and about a fifth of those that remain are here in Worcestershire.
South Worcestershire is a particularly important area for these species-rich fields and Merries Farm Meadows forms part of this network. Connectivity within the landscape is vital for the movement and survival of wildlife, particularly as our climate changes.
The Trust’s reserves are looked after by a series of volunteer wardens. Nina Oortman, volunteer warden of the nearby Duke of York and Ryefield Meadows and now of Merries Farm Meadows, commented “Meadows like these are fast-disappearing from our landscape so it’s vital that we work to protect those that remain.”
“I can’t wait to help nurture these meadows to their full glory – brimming with the colour of wildflowers and buzzing with the sound of insects.”
The meadows are rich with flowers like green-winged orchid, adder’s-tongue fern and dyer’s greenweed. They support a wide range of wildlife from marbled white butterflies to brown hares and barn owls.
Gillian French, Biffa Award Head of Grants, said “With Landfill Communities Funding, Biffa Award is proud to support this fantastic project to protect a stunning meadowland that is home to some treasured wildlife.”
Source: Merries Farm Meadows saved!