03 Mar Flower-rich grasslands
Over 150 potential meadows have been identified within Redesdale which have the potential to be significantly enhanced botanically to create species rich hay meadows, with iconic species such as wood cranesbill, hawkbit and greater burnet. Hay meadow management is also an important part of upland stock farm management to provide winter forage.
This project aims to increase the floral diversity of hay meadows and the network for pollinators in Redesdale focusing on meadows, greenspaces within village hubs and along verges and lay-bys. There are number of meadows in Redesdale in stewardship schemes, but the farmers don’t have access to the relevant seed or plants to improve the sward. The project would both help provide a source of appropriate plants, but also provide training and support to farmers and community volunteers around the traditional management of hay meadows. The project would also enhance the visual attractiveness of grassland across Redesdale by increasing the number of flowering plants in verges and local greenspace.
The projects seeks to:
- Improve management of existing priority habitats
- Restoration of degraded sites to reach priority habitat status
- Sward diversification on sites that are not priority habitat but may support nectar sources for pollinating insects
- Engage farmers and the local community in activities which improve the flora diversity of grassland across Redesdale, through training courses and volunteer days (scything, scarifying, seed collection, and planting plug plant).
- Work with volunteers to develop wild flower nurseries to provide plug plants for use in the valley.
- Raise awareness of the value of species rich grassland and the flowers and pollinators it supports through interpretation and events.
Sites that have been identified in surveys include Corsenside Church yard, Otterburn Mill bank, Byrness Local Wildlife site, Redesmouth, and a wide variety of verges and lay-bys along the A68 and A696.