Saving Hardwick Green Meadows

Tuesday 15th August 2017

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

Staff at a local conservation charity are keeping their fingers crossed that they will be able to save internationally rare meadows.

Worcestershire Wildlife Trust has launched a fundraising appeal to buy a series of important floodplain meadows in South Worcestershire. In just under two weeks, the charity has raised more than £25,000 toward the purchase of Hardwick Green Meadows.

Mike Perry, Head of Resources for the Trust, explained “These beautiful meadows near the village of Eldersfield are awash with wildflowers, bees and butterflies throughout the spring and summer months.

“England has lost around 97% of meadows over the last 70 years and floodplain meadows like the ones we’re currently trying to save are rarer still.

“There are just 3,500 acres of floodplain meadow left in the UK – that’s only the size of Heathrow Airport. Hardwick Green Meadows represent 1.5% of these meadows so it’s vital that they are saved for the future.”

Rare collection of flowers

Great burnet (c) Wendy CarterHardwick Green Meadows, tucked into the southwest corner of Worcestershire, are rich in plants like great burnet, pepper saxifrage and corky-fruited water dropwort. In turn, this rich but scarce collection of flowers supports butterflies, bees, birds and more.

Barn owls have been seen quartering the fields on the hunt for food, brown hares are a common sight and an otter has been filmed using the watercourses that run through the meadows.

Forgotten Floodplains

Brown hare (c) Elliot NeepThe fields are currently owned by the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation who agreed to buy it on a short-term basis to give the Trust time to raise the necessary funds to buy it.

Mike continued “As well as thanking all the individuals that have already donated, we’re incredibly grateful to Severn Waste Services through the Severn Waste Environmental Fund for committing £50,000 to the appeal.

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

“That leaves us with just £50,000 of the total £460,000 to find and we are determined to succeed.

“Our Forgotten Floodplains Appeal has got off to an amazing start but we’ve got some way to go before the future of these beautiful meadows is secure.”

If successful, the Trust will involve the local community, especially children and local people, through an oral history project and other work.

Whilst the meadows are already in good condition, the Trust needs to make structural improvements such as repairing bridges over the watercourses to ease management of the individual fields.

For further information or to donate visit www.worcswildlifetrust.co.uk/appeal or call 01905 754919