Common Carder Bee on Sulphur Clover, photo by Henry Walker

June blooms display meadow creation success

Wednesday 26 June, 2019

On a fine sunny evening in June, trustees and local landowners joined Norfolk Wildlife Trust Conservation Officer, Helen Baczkowska to look at new meadows being created in south Norfolk.

Together with the Farming and Wildlife Advisory Group (FWAG) and Norfolk County Council, Norfolk Wildlife Trust (NWT) has helped create new meadows in the south of the county for several years.

Working with local community groups, landowners and volunteers, conservationists collect green hay from nearby roadside nature reserves, where species such as the nationally rare sulphur clover still retain a precarious foothold. Seed has also been hand collected to boost the species richness on the new meadows.

The seed is spread on the new sites and though it is still early days, we are already seeing success: flowers thriving on the new meadows included sulphur clover, spiny restharrow, cowslip, lesser birds foot trefoil, golden oat grass and even a few common spotted orchid.

Helen Baczkowska from Norfolk Wildlife Trust said: “Traditional hay meadows resplendent with colourful wild flowers, alive with bees and butterflies, were once common across Norfolk. Sadly they are no longer and today many of their associated plants, including cowslips, yellow rattle and meadow saxifrage, have become much rarer. This partnership project is redressing the balance in south Norfolk. It is not a ‘quick fix’ - creating the new meadows has taken several years and collecting seed by hand and hay is labour intensive – but creating new sites for threatened meadow species in less vulnerable locations has been something Norfolk Wildlife Trust and Farm Conservation have been hoping to achieve for some years.”

For the past three years, the work has been funded by the Barbara Barlow Trust under the Seeding the Future project.  Reversing the loss of flower-rich meadows is vital for the future of many insects including the bees, butterflies and moths abundant on the June visit.
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