Hay Meadows appeal launched by the Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust

Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust staff with Chris Myers at launch of hay meadows appeal
The above photograph appears by courtesy of the Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust

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Over the last fifty years 97% of wildflower hay meadows in the UK have been lost, making them one of the most threatened habitats in Britain.

Local charity the Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust (YDMT) has this month (April 2013) launched the "Hay Time Appeal" in a bid to raise £150,000 to fund a three year campaign to safeguard the few hay meadows that remain, restore meadows, and raise awareness about the importance of this precious habitat.

Don Gamble, YDMT’s Hay Time project manager, said: "Thanks to generations of dales farmers, the Yorkshire Dales is one of the few remaining strongholds for species-rich hay meadows. We aim to work with local farmers to help protect these meadows and to restore the botanical diversity of meadows that have lost their wildlife value. Depending on its size, it costs around £1,000 to restore a meadow and protect the hundreds of species of wildlife it supports. A small donation to the Hay Time Appeal today can make a big difference to the future of our meadows."

YDMT are passionate about raising public awareness about these complex ecosystems and believe that children in particular, as possible future guardians of our hay meadows, should be given the opportunity to learn about and experience meadows first-hand. As such, pupils from Christ Church Primary School in Skipton were invited to join the Trust to take part in a selection of educational "meadow-themed" activities, including sowing wildflower seeds and creating wildflower artwork, to mark the launch of the appeal.

The Hay Time Appeal has already secured the support of Yorkshireman Chris Myers, presenter of Channel 4’s "Wild Things" TV series, garden designer and fellow meadow enthusiast. Chris commented: "Having spent the last few years giving the nation a taste of Yorkshire through my exhibition show gardens, I came to realise how lucky I am to have inspirational wildflower hay meadows on my doorstep here in the Yorkshire Dales. Making a donation to the Hay Time Appeal will enable YDMT to protect and restore these beautiful and iconic meadows in the dales which are home to rare species of flower like wood crane’s-bill and endangered animals like the moss carder bumblebee.”

YDMT has a proven track record in this field and has already made significant progress, although more still needs to be done to safeguard meadows for future generations. Since 2006 the charity has been working closely with local farmers to coordinate restoration schemes across the Yorkshire Dales and the Forest of Bowland to return degraded meadows to their former glory.

Locally-harvested meadow seed has already been added to 300 hectares of species-poor meadows, and traditional low-input meadow management has been re-instated. YDMT has also worked extensively with the public and schools to celebrate and educate people about the wildlife, landscape and cultural value of meadows. More than 12,000 people have already benefited from fun and educational meadow-themed activities and public events.

For more information or to make a donation please contact the Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust.

[N.B. Please mention the Eagle Intermedia Yorkshire Dales website when making your enquiries.]

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[News item based on press release supplied by the The Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust, posted April 2013.]

The Yorkshire Dales is designed and maintained by Eagle Intermedia Publishing Ltd.

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