Wildflower meadows have inspired artists and writers such as Constable and Shakespeare for decades. Many common day phrases take their origins from grasslands such as, ‘off to pastures new’ or ‘make hay while the sun shines’. They are an intrinsic part of the UK’s heritage and provide much folklore and history. However, since the Second World War, it is estimated that 97% of the UK’s wildlife-rich grasslands have been destroyed as a result of intensive agriculture, neglect and urban development.
The impact of this decline in wildflower meadows has been significant on our wildlife. You can help change this.
A meadow is an important and crucial habitat, arguably the richest in biodiversity in Europe, but also declining most rapidly. There are up to 50 different types of plant in one square metre, which is far higher than any other habitat including woodland. Species include birds such as the barn owl, skylark, and lapwing; mammals like voles and hares, as well as many types of invertebrates such as butterflies and bees. They also support an incredibly rich and diverse array of flowers for example, the green-winged orchid, ox-eye daisy and common mouse-ear. The Wildflower Farmer understands how important this traditional meadow habitat is and is working hard to reinstate them on his Devon farm to transform the land back into a flourishing haven for flora and fauna.
Benefiting Bees with Wildflowers
Wildflower meadows are rich in nectar. Bees benefit hugely from this type of environment and they are vital to mankind for pollination. There are 250 species of bee in the UK all of which depend upon wildflowers for nectar. Sadly, in the last 75 years, 2 of these species have become extinct. Albert Einstein once said that if the bees disappeared, “Man would have only four years of life left.” It is crucial that we act now to bring back wildflower meadows to save our bees.
It is not just bees which wildflower meadows support. They also sustain spiders, millipedes, moths and butterflies which are prey for birds and other animals. It is part of the food chain; wildflowers produce nectar, large supplies of nectar produce a healthy supply of insects, which in turn can produce huge benefits for birds, amphibians and mammals. Wildflower meadows also benefit many creatures at night such as bats, owls and nocturnal toads who enjoy the damp areas at the bottom of the grassland thatch.
By reinstating some of that 97% lost meadow land to flowering status we can make a real impact upon our struggling wildlife.
It is really important that we bring back wildflower meadows to support our summer bird visitors such as house martins, swifts and swallows. They will be more likely to successfully rear offspring with more meadows around because wildflower habits produce an abundance of food which feed the invertebrates that these birds eat. In turn, large healthy populations of small birds such as our native finches, sparrows, yellowhammers and linnets feed our native raptors; tawny owls, long eared owls, sparrow hawks, buzzards and kites.
A return to wildflower meadows in farming will also help protect ground nesting birds as such as skylarks, curlews, meadow pipits and yellow wagtails as only a single harvest is needed long after the young have left the nest so they will no longer be disturbed during nesting season.
Committed to Change
"My parents brought me up to love nature. I also love farming and those two passions can work together to protect the environment.
I want my children to grow up to respect the countryside. I want to pass on a farming business that uses sustainable methods and helps protect the environment.
At the heart of that belief is a return to wildflower meadows. Our family has committed to this change. If you want to see a return to wildflower farming and believe in preserving the nation’s wildlife and help offset carbon, please consider joining us on this journey."
Matthew Cooke, the Wildflower Farmer
Your subscription will help create wildflower meadows and then maintain them. This ecosystem will create a fantastic wildlife habitat.