Open Meadows 2022 invite

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Steve Pollard
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Open Meadows 2022 invite

Post by Steve Pollard »

Dear Meadow Makers,

I'd like to invite you to take part in our 8th annual series of Open Meadows!

During the summer months, our members open some of Devon's most beautiful meadows for others to enjoy.

Open Meadows are also an inspiration to would-be meadow makers - it's brilliant to learn first-hand how owners have created and are managing their meadows. If you have a beautiful wildflower meadow, please consider opening! Given how rare they are in the landscape, some people will never have experienced one before.

Your meadow could be on a site of many acres, or simply a table-cloth sized one in the garden. The scale doesn't matter. Neither does your meadow have to be the "finished article" - mine certainly isn't - as they all have their interest. It’s simply a matter of choosing an afternoon, an evening or a period of days, when you think your meadow will be at its flourishing best. There are options such as asking people to pre-book if numbers might be an issue, or you could perhaps decide to open together with a neighbouring meadow owner.

You are welcome to take part wherever you are from. The Open Meadows programme is only advertised through our own channels.

If you would like to open your meadow this year, or if you would like more information, please email me direct at: steve.moormeadows@gmail.com.

I look forward to hearing from you!

Steve
Philip Brown
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Re: Open Meadows 2022 invite

Post by Philip Brown »

Hello , I have visited a couple of meadows this year and am truly inspired by their beauty and diversity.
We have two meadows that have been in the family for over 80 years , neither ploughed or intensively farmed. They are a heritage I want to protect and enhance for wildlife and can remember collecting apples 60 years ago when one field was an ancient orchard. Butterflies and bees abounded and fortunately still do in our rare oasis.
I want to open the meadows in due course when they are at their best , maybe on several occasions. If this can be linked to local charity fundraising even better.
All my family have deep roots in Devon as farmers , blacksmiths and shoemakers particularly , so far going back to 1718 when my 6 times great grandfather , Thomas Brown married in Cornwood.
We need to celebrate, improve and enjoy the heritage and traditions we have , particularly rural skills and knowledge .
I attach a few photos which I hope you enjoy. Please support Moormeadows if you can , a place of lifelong interest to me.

Best wishes , Philip Brown
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Re: Open Meadows 2022 invite

Post by Philip Brown »

Some recent meadow photos
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Philip Brown
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Re: Open Meadows 2022 invite

Post by Philip Brown »

A few more pics
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PerrysPasture
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Re: Open Meadows 2022 invite

Post by PerrysPasture »

I do have meadows but not many flowers although it is not for lack of trying, it would be great to visit meadows that are success stories so i can pick up some tips.
I am in the Brendon Hills with 10acre smallholding.
Look forward to your reply.
Best Regards
Richard Perry
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Re: Open Meadows 2022 invite

Post by Philip Brown »

Hi Richard

Its good to know your keen to develope your meadows. Moormeadows is a great place to look for inspiration and advice , along with sites like the Somerset Wildlife Trust and Plantlife , to mention a few. Look also at Lethytep website in Cornwall for what can be achieved.

I am hoping to harvest seed and green hay from our meadows and I'm sure there are donor sites nearer to you who can help you.

I believe our small meadows are part of the 3% of meadows remaining since the WW2 , only because of their isolation from the main farmstead.

There are many wonderfull videos on YouTube on the subject of meadow creation. I wish you well in your endeavours. If I can be of any assistance please let me know.

Best wishes , Philip
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Re: Open Meadows 2022 invite

Post by Jane W »

I was interested I'm your comment about having plenty of meadows, but not many flowers ( despite trying!) Because I just read a book by Monty Don where he says:

'a wildflower meadow can look as beautiful as any herbaceous border, but the flowers make surprisingly little difference to the quality of wildlife. It is long grass that is the key to a healthy and varied insect population'

I wonder if anyone has any thoughts on this?
I would love this to be true.
The thought that actually just by having long grass and varied species we're doing everything for the best, and the flowers are just a pleasing addition is rather nice.

I'm thinking also of the recent, and very interesting research which Steve Pollard shared about how the things we really love to hate ( thistles, nettles, brambles) are often several times more frequently visited by wildlife than other, more glamorous flowers.

Could it be that just by not ploughing/cutting/interfering, we're bringing enormous benefit to nature? Whether we have lovely flowers to show for it or not?
Jamie Buxton-Gould
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Re: Open Meadows 2022 invite

Post by Jamie Buxton-Gould »

Jane W wrote: Tue Jun 14, 2022 4:12 pm I was interested I'm your comment about having plenty of meadows, but not many flowers ( despite trying!) Because I just read a book by Monty Don where he says:

'a wildflower meadow can look as beautiful as any herbaceous border, but the flowers make surprisingly little difference to the quality of wildlife. It is long grass that is the key to a healthy and varied insect population'

I wonder if anyone has any thoughts on this?
I would love this to be true.
The thought that actually just by having long grass and varied species we're doing everything for the best, and the flowers are just a pleasing addition is rather nice.

I'm thinking also of the recent, and very interesting research which Steve Pollard shared about how the things we really love to hate ( thistles, nettles, brambles) are often several times more frequently visited by wildlife than other, more glamorous flowers.

Could it be that just by not ploughing/cutting/interfering, we're bringing enormous benefit to nature? Whether we have lovely flowers to show for it or not?
Hi Jane,

That seems a strange statement from Monty Don - whilst having a variety of grasses and flowers is ideal for a true species-rich meadow, the flowers make so much difference to many insects, especially pollinators as foodplants for species in larval stages and as adults.
The greater diversity of flowers there are (and grasses as they are flowering plants too), the more species are supported, increasing ecosystem functionality. A variation of sward height promotes better biodiversity - short patches are valuable for their warm microclimate and to support low growing species such as bird's-foot trefoil and clovers, and longer patches are important for grasshoppers, meadow brown butterflies, etc. A variety of vegetation structures is best to support the most wildlife.
The loss/degradation of the UK's wildflower meadows from rich, varied swards to grassy monocultures has lead to declines in many species, especially bumblebees (key pollinators) that can't survive in a landscape with few flowers.
If you've ever visited a meadow in Transylvania that is full of flowers as it hasn't seen artificial herbicides or fertilisers, you will see that's what a meadow is and that is why they are teeming with wildlife such as butterflies and red-backed shrikes whereas the UK has lost these species or has very low abundance of them in comparison!
Ruth @Ditty
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Re: Open Meadows 2022 invite

Post by Ruth @Ditty »

We're interested to hear of Monty Don's comment about the wildlife value of grasses. We have around five acres of what we would describe as grassy meadows, which are surrounded by hedgerows and also have small scrubby areas within it. It is a place of abundant wildlife and busyness, especially in the Summer months. Last year we counted 50 plant species in total, which included those less favoured plants like creeping thistle, cocksfoot, hogweed and dock, but also many smaller and more delicate plants too, and more being added this year. We are very hands off with it in general, but in February we welcomed a small herd of Dexter cattle from the wonderful Cows in Clover, just for a few weeks to knock back some of the stronger grasses in areas which are still being enriched by the run off from the fields of neighboring landowners.
We are seeing a variety of areas building nicely: density and darkness, lightness and openness, shady and damp, warm and dry, high and low. We are trying to leave nature to find its home within what we hope will become an increasingly more complex mosaic of habitats.
Donna Cox
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Re: Open Meadows 2022 invite

Post by Donna Cox »

Jane W wrote: Tue Jun 14, 2022 4:12 pm I was interested I'm your comment about having plenty of meadows, but not many flowers ( despite trying!) Because I just read a book by Monty Don where he says:

'a wildflower meadow can look as beautiful as any herbaceous border, but the flowers make surprisingly little difference to the quality of wildlife. It is long grass that is the key to a healthy and varied insect population'

I wonder if anyone has any thoughts on this?
I would love this to be true.
The thought that actually just by having long grass and varied species we're doing everything for the best, and the flowers are just a pleasing addition is rather nice.

I'm thinking also of the recent, and very interesting research which Steve Pollard shared about how the things we really love to hate ( thistles, nettles, brambles) are often several times more frequently visited by wildlife than other, more glamorous flowers.

Could it be that just by not ploughing/cutting/interfering, we're bringing enormous benefit to nature? Whether we have lovely flowers to show for it or not?
Hi Jane

A few thoughts - long grass and wildflowers together are a brilliant habitat for many insects. I cannot agree with Monty's statement (and I'm a fan of Monty!) that 'flowers make surprisingly little difference to the quality of wildlife' when they provide essential nectar and pollen for many insects, not least bees and meadow butterflies. In a flower-rich meadow thousands of plants help sustain thousands of insects.

A range of meadow grasses though are equally essential. Some insects feed on grass, such as grasshoppers and crickets. Many meadow butterfly species, whilst feeding on the flowers, only ever lay their eggs on grasses and in some cases, only on one particular type of meadow grass. So if that grass is not present they cannot lay their eggs. https://butterfly-conservation.org/site ... plants.pdf

However, long grass with few flowers is also an excellent habitat. Many insects will shelter and breed within it. Depending on the meadow's location and the surrounding habitat, ground nesting birds, like skylarks, might even breed there. If it isn't cut or grazed for a year or two and the grasses get thick at the base it will attract voles and field mice, even harvest mice if you're lucky. This thick grass habitat provides a larder for barn owls and kestrels; their main diet being small rodents. Different habitats support a variety of different wildlife - all are beneficial. There's not enough out there, that's why every patch absolutely counts!
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