A TOTAL of £382,000 has been raised to safeguard the future of precious meadows.
Worcestershire Wildlife Trust began the Fields of Gold appeal to purchase Hollybed Farm Meadows near Castlemorton in December 2012.
The Esmée Fairbairn Foundation agreed to purchase the site with the understanding that the trust would have until August this year to generate the required funds to secure the ten meadows, orchard and small wet woodland.
The drive saw the biggest public appeal organised by the trust which yielded more than £105,000 from members and non-members of the organisation.
Substantial pledges of £65,900 from the Heritage Lottery Fund and a £50,000 grant from Severn Waste Services boosted the pot and the rest of the money was raised through gift aid and legacies.
The nature reserve includes Far Sterling Bank, a site of specific scientific interest which is rich in wildflowers.
The 16 hectare plot is also home to Worcestershire’s Coronation Meadow which was established in 2013 by His Royal Highness Prince Charles to mark the 60th anniversary of Queen Elizabeth’s coronation.
Kate Thomas, head of resources at the trust, said: “We’re over the moon that we’re able to save these precious meadows and would like to say a big thank you to everyone who played a part in securing their future.
“It’s the scarcity of wildflower-rich meadows that make this achievement so fantastic. It’s really important that these beautiful habitats are protected for the future.
“When they’re in flower, meadows are a feast for the senses, they are beautiful with ever-changing colours that buzz with the sounds of insects. They play such an important role in the food chain hosting everything from butterflies, moths, spiders and other small creatures to the birds, bats and other mammals that rely on them for a meal.”
Access to Hollybed Farm Meadows is restricted for visitors to the public rights of way and organised events due to the delicate nature of the land.
The trust is set to hold an event on Sunday, November 2, to introduce prospective volunteers who wish to manage the reserve. Visit www.worcswildlifetrust.co.uk/volunteer-taster-days or call Kat Willcocks on 01905 754919 for more information.