Sixty “Coronation meadows” have been identified across the UK as part of a Coronation anniversary campaign to restore threatened wildflower meadows. These habitats have decreased by 97% in the UK since the 1930s. The project, led by the Prince of Wales and three wildlife and livestock organisations, will take seed and green hay from these designated meadows to recreate new ones.
The 60 meadows identified so far represent some of the UK’s “outstanding” wildflower meadows, according to the team. Plantlife, the Wildlife Trusts and Rare Breeds Survival Trust (RBST) also aim to compile the first full inventory mapping all the UK’s remaining wildflower meadows as part of the project.
For example, green-winged orchids, found in lowland hay meadows, have decreased by 50% over the last 50 years. Lesser butterfly orchids and greater butterfly orchids have also declined by 60% and 47% respectively. And 67% of distinctively-patterned fritillaries, which grow in meadows, have disappeared in the last few decades.
Victoria Chester, from Plantlife, said: “Many of the meadows have local significance. For example, Welsh farms often had a ‘cae ysbyty’ or ‘hospital field’, a flower-rich pasture where sick animals would recover from illness or injury.”source BBC