How can I restore or create a meadow?

There are four common methods that can be used to restore or recreate wildflower grasslands.

Consider keeping the wild in wildflower and sustaining the local distinctiveness of grasslands in your area - for more information see Natural England's TIN038 on seed sources for grassland restoration . Creating a wildflower grassland is a tricky process and may not succeed, even when following the methods precisely. Future management is essential for wildflowers to thrive.

Some activities might require an Environmental Impact Assessment screening, such as clearing scrub. We have produced a briefing which provides more information about when this process may be required and a more in-depth guidance note for England.

Most wildflower seed does not last long in the soil seed bank and some additional seed may be needed. The plant yellow rattle can used to facilitate the restoration process. There are various methods of adding seed, all with their advantages and disadvantages. Site preparation creating bare ground suitable for seeds is as important as the sowing as the seeds will not germinate if they do not have suitable conditions. Coronation Meadows have produced a useful photographic guide to creating bare ground for grassland restoration. The seed mixture should be appropriate for the type of grassland considering the soil pH and moisture. See our guidance note on common reasons why wildflower restorations are unsuccessful for more information on common issues encountered.

Explore the advice sheets and case studies below to find out more use the advice and guidance flow-chart to continue working through the restoration process. Buglife have produced a simple guide to creating a community meadow, but you may wish to still look at the step-by-step guides as it can be a difficult process. For something fun see this short video on sowing wildflower seed in Fermanagh produced by Ulster Wildlife Trust.

Restoration Using Natural Regeneration

Restoration using natural regeneration.

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Restoration Using Green Hay

Restoration Using Green Hay

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Restoration Using Brush-Harvested Seed

Restoration Using Brush-Harvested Seed

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Restoration Using Seed Mixtures

Restoration using seed mixtures

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Wildflower succession following restoration

Description of wildflower succession following re-seeding

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Mini-meadow

How to create a mini-meadow in your garden, school field or a raised bed

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Case Study: Joan’s Hill Farm

Restoring wildflower grassland through natural regeneration.

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Case Study: Denmark Farm

Restoring wild flower grassland through natural regeneration.

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Case Study: Park Meadow

Restoring wildflower grassland using green hay and plug plants

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Case Study: Llanerchaeron

Restoring a wildflower grassland using fresh brush-harvested seed

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