Meadows full of wildflowers and grasses are rare these days, with the majority lost due to cultivation, other agricultural intensification practices, and urban development on greenfield sites

With each wildflower meadow gone, the land becomes nature-poor, losing its wild fungi, thriving soil life, diversity, and abundance of insects. 

Losing wildflower meadows, means losing an uncountable number of wild pollinators, such as bumblebees and hoverflies - animals that underpin our ability to grow the very food we eat. At the CRT we allow space for wildflower meadows wherever we can as part of our objectives for nature-friendly farming but at present far too many of our fields are poor in wildflowers and we know this needs to change fast if we are to play our part in reversing nature loss 

Meadows are the perfect habitat for a variety of butterflies, bees, beetles, bugs, ants, hoverflies, and other small beasties, which in turn provide rich pickings for wild birds and mammals. 

Between April and July, the meadows we have created at Lark Rise Farm in Cambridge and Babers Farm in Dorset, provide a changing and colourful tapestry of flowers, from cowslips in Spring to the dancing buttercups in May and pink and purple-flowering wild orchids, knapweed and betony in June and July. By mid-summer, the fields hum with the sound of crickets and grasshoppers and are alive with the dancing flight of burnet moths and meadow brown butterflies.  

Over the past year, we were excited to embark on a long-term project to restore wildflower meadows in the floodplain at Bere Marsh Farm in east Dorset. We began in a small way in 2022, when many different wildflower species collected from road verges and old meadows, were sown in a small paddock by our brilliant volunteer group. 

Less than one year later, the patches sown had already become diverse and flower-rich with meadow buttercup, yellow rattle, plantain, oxeye daisies and knapweed all making an appearance. We know the bugs will follow – and this is just a start 

Our plans for 2024 and beyond are to increase the area of wildflower meadows on our farms. Contributions to this project will mean we can collect, buy, and sow the right types of seed for the new meadows. We don’t just mean scattering a few seeds, but hundreds of kilograms of seed and in some cases, flower rich green hay collected from other meadows.  

Wildflower seed does not come cheap – it costs up to £100 per kg and to overseed a hectare of flower-poor grassland we will need between 5 and 10kg of seed on top of the costs of employing contractors to prepare the ground. But we know it is achievable, and it is among the easiest things we can do to restore nature to our farms, fast. 

How you can help

We can’t do it without you. If you want to help us protect local wildlife you can support the CRT in any number of ways, from joining as a CRT Friend to volunteering on one of our farms and attending our events. You can also sign-up to our monthly newsletter 'CRT News' for regular updates from our farms, straight to your inbox.

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