Recognising wood-meadows in Britain?

Woodland and meadow are generally regarded as distinct habitats – but has this perspective reduced our appreciation of places where these habitats come together? After describing European wood-meadows and outlining the history of equivalent habitats in Britain, George Peterken suggests that wood-meadows should be more widely recognised. Until recently, wood-meadows were a common and extensive

Brampton Meadow SSSI: a case of institutional amnesia?

This is a well-documented case of a well-meaning attempt to save part of an SSSI by translocating species-rich grassland that failed because of a lack of monitoring and management following the initial work. Brampton Meadow Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) lies to the north-west of the village of Brampton, in Cambridgeshire (in the old

Observation of Chequered Skippers in Scotland in 2010

The Chequered Skipper Carterocerphalus palaemon was not recognised in the western-Highlands until 1942. Before that the species had been restricted, it was believed, to open grassy spots in a few selected woods in the English Midlands and southern counties. 

Conserving the Culm

A quarter of a century ago, the Culm grasslands of northern Devon and north-east Cornwall were experiencing steep declines in their extent and condition. They had no champion, and major infrastructure projects such as Roadford Reservoir and the North Devon Link Road paid scant regard to them, although the former attempted some experimental translocation. 

Ghosts in our grasslands. Lessons from abroad – a look at the management of grasslands in Transylvania

Conservation of our British species-rich grassland has been failing despite tremendous on the part of the Goverment agencies and the NGO sector. The fragmentation and disappearance of our semi-natural grasslands is reasonably well known (Blackstock et al. 1999), and loss of sites is still continuing under agricultural intensification, with the increasing isolation of our best grassland sites. 

Woodland origins of meadows

Woods and meadows are quite different habitats, surely? One is full of trees, and the other has none. One yields timber and wood, while the other affords hay and pasturage. 

Reserve Focus: Kingcombe Meadows, Dorset

Kingcombe Meadows Nature Reserve lies in the beautiful, largely unspoilt, hilly countryside of west Dorset, and is owned and managed by the Dorset Wildlife Trust (DWT). The reserve extends to about 177ha (437) and is of national importance, most of it being a Site of Special Scientific Interest. 

Lowland Grassland Survey of Wales

As in various parts of temperate Europe where livestock farming prevails, grassland vegetation is the major component of land cover in Wales. Many Welsh farms extend from the agriculturally enclosed lowlands to the open hill country. 

Flowers in the fields: community conservation in the Lower Wye Valley

Two community-led projects in the Lower Wye Valley have successfully generated local interest in 'flowery fields' and have helped many owners with field management. One, the 'Parish Grassland Project' (PGP), which started in 2000, is concerned with semi-natural grassland in the parishes of Brockweir, Hewelsfield and St Briavels, Gloucestershire. 

Creating wild-flower meadows by strewing green hay

Habitat creation is not a universally esteemed activity. The introduction of uncommon species into new sites can cause confusion, and may even reduce our ability to use plants as indicators of the conditions where they normally occur. 

Reserve Focus: Rhos Llawr Cwrt NNR, Ceredigion

Wet, unimproved grassland, which goes under the generic name of 'rhos pastures', has been rather late in achieving recognition as the wonderful wildlife habitat that it is; indeed, too late in the case of most of it. High rainfall, thin soils, topography and farming history have handed Wales a special responsibility for this habitat, which

Reserve Focus: Clattinger Farm Reserve, Wiltshire

I first visited Clattinger Farm over 20 years ago, with the late Derek Wells and others from the old Nature Conservancy Coucil. I remember being extremely impressed at the time by the density of flowers and Adder's-tongue Fern, and the sheer extent of the habitat, though I had little experience of similar meadows with which

Harvests of Beauty: The Conservation of Hay Meadows

Why is it that the traditional flower-rich hay meadow, once such an everyday sight, now so rare, seems to express, more than any other landscape, the soul of the English countryside? Today, when most of us would have to make a special visit and travel many miles to see one, the meadow may be less of a

Reserve Focus – North Meadow, Cricklade, Wiltshire

North Meadow National Nature Reserve, despite its unexciting name, is a remarkable place. It is best known for its exceptional display of Snake's-head Fritillaries, Fritillaria meleagris (estimated as making up at least 80% of the wild British population of this species), but it also has a rich meadow vegetation, and is one of the best places to

British Meadows and Pastures

Few people today realise that the terms 'meadow' and 'pasture' refer to quite different types of farmland and reflect fundamental differences in the way these grasslands are managed, as well as the agricultural quality of the land on which they occur. In its most precise usage, and there are several, a meadow is an area

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