Saturday 1st July 2017 - #NationalMeadowsDay
* Wildflower meadows are vanishing - 97% have been lost since the 1930s
* A single healthy meadow can be home to over 80 species of wild flowers
Join us at RSPB Coombes Valley to celebrate hay meadows and how they are benefitting the wildlife of the Churnet Valley. There will be activities ranging from family crafts to guided walks – something for everyone to join in and have fun.
The RSPB has recently acquired Bellpit Meadows with a generous grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund. Help us to improve this wonderful nature reserve by collecting seeds as you discover more about wildflowers on guided walks led by a professional botanist starting at 1 pm, 2 pm and 3 pm. Relax by the yurt with an ice cream while enjoying live music from the Idioms, a local alternative folk band which has kindly volunteered its time to play at this event. The band will play 30 minute sessions at 12:30 pm, 1:30 pm and 2:30 pm. Scything demonstrations will be taking place throughout the day as an example of traditional hay meadow management.
National Meadows Day (1), dedicated to celebrating and protecting our vanishing wildflower meadows and the wealth of wildlife they support, will take place on Saturday 1 July 2017. This year's National Meadows Day will be the biggest yet, with over 100 events (2) taking place across England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales.
Join us in the craft barn making bug bungalows, butterfly feeders, bird feeders, seed bombs and more before popping over to the pond for a spot of pond dipping. Get up close to some moths and use a sweep net to discover the bugs that live amongst the grasses and flowers in one our beautiful meadows. These sessions run at 1:45 pm, 2:45 pm and 3:45 pm.
Hot food, drinks and cake will be available throughout the day.
Hay Day at RSPB Coombes Valley near Leek runs from 12 noon - 4pm and costs £5 per adult and £2.50 per child (20% off for RSPB members).
National Meadows Day is the headline event of Save Our Magnificent Meadows (3), the UK's largest partnership project transforming the fortunes of our vanishing wildflower meadows, grasslands and wildlife. Plantlife, supported by money raised by National Lottery players with a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund (4), is spearheading the project.
Claire Parton, Save Our Magnificent Meadows Project Manager, said:
"Meadows, once a feature of every parish in Staffordshire, are now an increasingly fragile part of our national heritage but all is not lost. National Meadows Day is the perfect way to explore and enjoy the flowers and wildlife of Staffordshire's magnificent meadows and understand their special place in our shared social and cultural history.
Beyond being a quintessential sight of summer, meadows' value to our wildlife cannot be overstated - a single healthy meadow can be home to over 80 species of wild flowers, such as cuckoo flower, yellow rattle, orchids, knapweed and scabious, compared to most modern agricultural pasture which typically supports under a dozen species."
Just 100 years ago there would have been a meadow in every Staffordshire parish, supporting a way of life that had gone on for centuries. They provided grazing and hay for livestock, employment, and food and medicine for the parish and were part of a community's cultural and social history. Today, just 3% of the meadows that existed in the 1930s remain (5) – that's a loss of 7.5 million acres of wildflower grassland.