Forgotten Floodplains Appeal

Hardwick Green Meadow (c) Wendy CarterHardwick Green Meadow (c) Wendy Carter

Worcestershire Wildlife Trust has just six months to raise £460,000 to buy 50 acres of nationally important floodplain meadows at Hardwick Green in a secluded and special corner of Worcestershire.

The meadows delight with their wildflowers & butterflies, enhanced by glimpses of hares & the presence of an otter.

Chris, volunteer reserve manager  

There is nothing quite like a wildflower meadow on a summer day – the sheer beauty of myriad flowers and grasses creating the setting for butterflies, bees and countless other insects, birds and mammals.

The meadows are of national and international importance. What marks out Hardwick Green Meadows is the survival of a particular collection of plants and the rarity of such floodplain meadows in the UK. They are rich in plants such as great burnet, pepper saxifrage and corky-fruited water dropwort.

The rich flora creates habitat for insects including butterflies such as meadow browns and marbled whites as well as birds including cuckoos, blackcaps, reed buntings, common and lesser whitethroat; barn owls have been seen too. Brown hares are a frequent sight and an otter has been filmed on the watercourses running through the site.

There has been a significant decline in the number of traditional hay meadows, with an estimated 97% lost since the Second World War. Floodplain meadows are rarer still with only an area of 3,500 acres, the equivalent of the footprint of Heathrow Airport, remaining in the UK. In this quiet and often forgotten corner of the county Hardwick Green Meadows represents 1.5% of all floodplain meadows that remain in the UK.

Why not watch our short video to find out just why Hardwick Green Meadows are so special.

Without your help, this could be lost.

We need your help to raise £50,000 to make up the full amount that we need to purchase Hardwick Green Meadows for the future. Every £1 you donate will unlock £8 in match-funding from other sources.

A living landscape

Brown hare (c) Elliot Neep

The purchase of these meadows epitomises our Living Landscapes approach of bigger, better and more connected.  Hardwick Green Meadows are part of a cluster of important floodplain grasslands, creating corridors and networks of habitat.  

The Trust already owns nearby Marshlands Meadow, just over two acres of wet grassland designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).  Marshlands Meadow itself adjoins the much larger and privately owned Burley Dene SSSI. Our own Hill Court Farm is just one mile away, connected by the Eldersfield Brook as part of the historic Longdon and Eldersfield Marsh complex, now dissected by the M50. 

With Hardwick Green Meadows in our ownership, we can not only secure this critical part of this living landscape but, through restoration work and careful management, we can enhance its wildlife value and recognise the historic natural world.

We need your help

We only have six months to raise the £460,000 needed to buy and protect these meadows and we are determined to succeed.

We have already secured £50,000 from Severn Waste Services through the Severn Waste Environmental Fund and we are immensely grateful to them for their support.

We are also through to the second stage of an application to the Heritage Lottery Fund for around £200,000 and have also received generous donations from members in their Wills.

We are now asking you to help us raise a further £50,000 from this Forgotten Floodplains Appeal to make up the full amount that we need to purchase Hardwick Green Meadows for the future.  Every £1 you donate will unlock £8 in match-funding from these other sources.

Great burnet at Hardwick Green (c) Wendy Carter

We have until December to meet our target and buy the fields from the Esmee Fairbairn Foundation who have agreed to buy it on a short-term basis to allow us to raise the necessary funds.  With our 50th birthday in 2018, what better birthday present could there be?

If we fail, the land will go back on the open market and risk being lost forever; Hardwick Green Meadows have no legal protection of any kind.  

If successful, we will involve the local community, especially children and local people, through an oral history project and work with schools and local community groups.

100% of your donation will go directly to the purchase of Hardwick Green Meadows.

You can donate using our online form below, call us on 01905 754919 or send a cheque (payable to 'Worcestershire Wildlife Trust') to Worcestershire Wildlife Trust, Lower Smite Farm, Smite Hill, Hindlip, Worcestershire WR3 8SZ.

Thank you for your invaluable support at a time when our local wildlife is more at risk than ever.

 

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