A RARE meadow near Malvern is a step closer to being saved after the county’s leading conservation organisation received a grant of almost £200,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF).
The Worcestershire Wildlife Trust launched a fund-raising appeal last summer to save 50 acres of rare floodplain at Hardwick Green Meadows in Eldersfield.
And the trust is celebrating the £197,000 cash boost towards the purchase of the meadows.
The target is edging ever closer after donations from individuals following the public appeal, gifts left in Wills to the Trust, a £50,000 donation from Severn Waste Services through the Severn Waste Environmental Fund and generous support from other charitable trusts.
The fields are currently owned by the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation which agreed to buy them on a short-term basis to give the Trust time to raise the funds.
Mike Perry, the trust’s head of resources, said: “This is fantastic news.
“We’ve been overwhelmed by the response from our public appeal and would like to say a big thank you to everyone who has helped and supported us to buy these beautiful meadows so far.
“From spring and throughout summer the meadows are teeming with wildflowers, butterflies, bees and birds.
“Hares have been spotted there and we’ve even got camera trap footage of otters using the brooks that run through the site.”
He added the Hardwick Green Meadows were a rare remnant of a much more common habitat, adding there were only 3,500 acres of these meadows left in the UK – the equivalent size of Heathrow Airport.”
The HLF funding will allow the trust to work with the community, including schoolchildren, and the meadow’s delicate nature means they will be opened for special open days and seasonal trails.
The area is rich in plants such as great burnet, pepper saxifrage and corky-fruited water dropwort.
Once the purchase is completed the trust will make structural improvements such as repairing bridges to make individual fields more accessible and make the management of them easier.
Visit www.worcswildlifetrust.co.uk/appeal for more on the appeal or to offer help to the drive.