The UK's remaining meadows and species-rich grasslands now cover a minute fraction of the area they once covered and of those that do survive around 75% occur in small fragments and remain vulnerable to destruction. When it comes to nature conservation our meadows and grasslands have yet to attain the significance and attention that our woodlands and wetlands enjoy.
Save Our Magnificent Meadows aimed to bring about a widespread change in the public’s perception and interaction with meadows and species-rich grasslands, and to inspire a shift change in our conservation and land management priorities.
Some species-rich grasslands in the UK are protected as Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). For example, in the Somerset Mendips, just under half of all surviving semi-natural habitat is protected and at least 630ha of valuable wildlife-rich grassland lies outside of nature reserves. 20% of south-east England’s chalk grassland is found in Kent but only one third is SSSI.
Save Our Magnificent Meadows ended in 2017, but you can contact our project partners to find other opportunities to:
There is a wide range of exciting events and activities taking place at meadows and grasslands across the UK on National Meadows Day, the first Saturday in July each year.
At other times, you can download our family resources to help you explore meadows and get the most from your visit.
The nature that thrives in meadows and wildlife-rich grasslands can be enjoyed throughout the year, whether it is flowers and butterflies in the summer, fungi in the autumn, or flocks of birds feeding on the invertebrate-rich soils in the winter. So you can enjoy visiting a meadow at any time of the year.
To see meadows at their most colourful the best time to visit for early flowering species can be around mid May and later flowering species like Devils Bit Scabious and Common Knapweed can appear until mid August, although this varies depending where in the country you are so you will need to find out what is happening in your area. Bear in mind that hay cutting starts around mid July depending on weather conditions and seasonal patterns.
A great time to visit a meadow is on National Meadows Day, the first Saturday in July each year, when you can join guided walks, wildflower identification workshops, family activities and much more at meadows across the UK.
Although many meadows are privately owned and managed as farmland there are lots that are owned or managed by a local wildlife trust or other conservation body and have public access.
Many of the Magnificent Meadows partners have meadow and grassland sites that can be visited:
Coronation Meadows are also outstanding examples of flower-rich grasslands, many of which can be visited. The Wildlife Trusts have reserves all over the UK where you can visit meadows and fritillary meadows.