27th Apr, 2018

£18,500 grant boost will help to save rare flower meadows in Birtsmorton

Craig Gibbons 10th Jan, 2018

TWO small wildflower meadows near Malvern have been saved after the county’s leading conservation organisation was awarded a special grant to secure their future.

Staff and volunteers from the Worcestershire Wildlife Trust are celebrating after receiving £18,500 from Biffa Award as part of the Landfill Communities Fund for the purchase and protection of Merries Farm Meadows.

The one-hectare Site of Special Scientific Interest is an important part of a series of wildflower-rich meadows around Birtsmorton.

David Molloy, Worcestershire Wildlife Trust’s conservation officer with responsibility for the site, said: “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 is even a small pond.

“We would 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 is 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 has lost about 97 per cent of lowland wildflower meadows since the Second World War and about a fifth of those which remain are in Worcestershire.

The south of the county 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 the 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, said: “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 such as 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, added: “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.”

For more information about the trust visit the website at www.worcswildlifetrust.co.uk.

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