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Every No Mow May lawn is different and perhaps that’s what makes them so beautiful. But we are all connected by a common goal…to leave space for nature.

Thank you to everyone who has taken part in No Mow May, we hope you’ve enjoyed watching your gardens and green spaces bloom. Whether you left your whole garden to grow, kept a section short, had a go at growing a wildflower meadow or just left a space to grow wild – it all makes a difference.

We’ve absolutely loved looking through all the pictures you’ve sent in and following your #NoMowMay journeys on social media. Please keep them coming!

Why do we do No Mow May?

Since the 1930s, we’ve lost approximately 97% of flower-rich meadows and with them gone are vital food needed by pollinators like bees and butterflies.

And with 1 in 5 British wildflowers under threat, it more important than ever to change the way we manage our gardens. A healthy lawn or green space with some long grass and wildflowers benefits wildlife, tackles pollution and can even lock away carbon below ground.

There are more than 20 million gardens in the UK, so even the smallest grassy patches can add up to a significant proportion of land which, if managed properly, can deliver enormous gains for nature, communities and the climate.

Here are some of our favourite No Mow May-ers from 2024!

Still time to join the No Mow May movement

Every year we call for people, communities and councils to get involved in #NoMowMay – and you still can this year.

Even though we’re approaching June, you can still join the movement and register your green space. This helps us to better understand how much green space across the UK is growing wild. So please sign up and help us give nature the boost it deserves in 2024 (you’ll even be added to our interactive No Mow May map!).

And the buzz doesn’t have to stop there. If you are able to, why not carry on and do Let it Bloom June.

Grassland wildlife comes in different flavours and incorporating different grass lengths into your garden can be wonderful for wildflowers and wildlife alike. Take a look at our top tips for building on the success of No Mow May.

The wildlife are loving #NoMowMay too

More on No Mow May

No lawn? No problem: 5 ways to join in with No Mow May

No lawn? No problem: 5 ways to join in with No Mow May

As well as bringing back the bloom to our lawns, there are many ways you can get involved with No Mow May, even if you don’t have a garden.

Go Wild in the Garden with these Gardening Jobs
A blossoming garden lawn full of wildflower

Go Wild in the Garden with these Gardening Jobs

If you want to create a home for wildlife in your garden, here’s a couple of nature-friendly gardening jobs to inspire you. If you create the right space, nature will come.

Wildlife to Spot in Your No Mow May Lawn 
A Cinnabar Moth rests on a long blade of lawn grass, image by Pip Gray

Wildlife to Spot in Your No Mow May Lawn 

It’s not just wildflowers which benefit from not mowing our lawns this May. Pollinators and other wildlife bring our gardens to life!

Fen Orchid Programme

After a decade of research and partnership work on Fen Orchids we now believe that the orchid could finally be removed from the Red Lists for both England and Great Britain.

How the programme started

This programme began when Plantlife was invited, in 2007, to join the Fen Orchid partnership in England, led then by Norfolk Wildlife Trust under the Species Recovery Programme (funded by Natural England, then English Nature).

The Trust were Lead Partners for fen orchid in England under the English Biodiversity Action Planning structures then in force.

In 2008, the Trust asked if Plantlife could take over as lead partner. At that point, fen orchid had only been known in 3 sites in England since 1975 and the population had never been known to reach 1000 plants.

Main Work Threads

We accepted that invitation and set about reviewing and revising the conservation programme, following five main threads:

  • Monitoring existing populations
  • Searching for lost and new populations
  • Ecological study
  • Experimental management
  • Reintroduction

Working in Partnership

As with with most of Plantlife’s work  and conservation programmes, the fen orchid programme always has been a partnership effort, with different organisations fulfilling different roles.

We acknowledge the excellent habitat management work undertaken by

  • Norfolk Wildlife Trust
  • RSPB
  • The Suffolk Wildlife Trust at former sites

The programme would not function without the financial, technical and moral support provided by organisations like

  • Broads Authority
  • Norfolk County Council
  • Natural England

We also appreciate the technical expertise and resources contribution to the reintroduction programme provided by:

  • The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew
  • Cambridge University Botanic Garden

The Work

Since 2008, Plantlife’s role has been, under the English Species Recovery Programme, to:

  • Undertaken annual counts of fen orchids at a number of sites
  • Act as a data hub for counts, receiving information from other recorders
  • Researched the ecology of fen orchid, here and abroad
  • Search former sites for populations thought to have vanished, and encourage others to do the same
  • Provide management advice for site managers
  • Provide monitoring guidance, including estimation protocols for site managers
  • Assess former East Anglian sites for potential for reintroduction
  • Undertake three reintroductions, one of which survives seven years on
  • Publish what we have learnt of fen orchid ecology, and …
  • Lead the partnership

What have we achieved

The record of the partnership speaks for itself: since 2009, the population of fen orchids in England has climbed year on year.

From fewer than 1000 plants at three sites to an estimated 17,000 plants (in 2023) at seven sites.

The aim of the conservation programme has always been to reduce the Threat Status (as assessed by the English Vascular Plant Red List group) of fen orchid, and, if possible, to reduce the Threat level to Least Concern.

This is a challenging ambition but a recent re-assessment has shown that we are very close to our goal.

This is essentially due to the increase in the number of known English sites combined with consistent population expansion over the last 15 years.

This re-assessment applies also at Great Britain  level, although recovery in Wales has been less rapid.  Work there by Bridgend Council and Natural Resources Wales has produced very favourable results and Plantlife are proud that we contributed to a partnership that found funding for large scale dune restoration work there.

If you’re taking part in No Mow May this year, then your garden will be well on its way to becoming a beautiful, biodiverse haven for nature. But there is a bonus to helping the wildflowers grow – as you allow lawn to become meadow, your garden becomes your very own carbon store, helping to reduce your carbon footprint.

When carbon sequestration is mentioned, most minds turn to trees. As a society we are more aware than ever before of the role of woodlands in combatting climate change and creating a space for nature. Much less discussed is the remarkable and equally vital role our grasslands and meadows can play in increasing biodiversity and capturing and storing carbon from the atmosphere.  

How do grasslands store carbon?

Wildflowers growing in a meadow with cattle behind

When we create healthy grasslands and meadows by mowing or grazing livestock, we are simply replicating the activity of the herds of large wild herbivores that once moved across our hills and valleys. These habitats – if the grazing is gentle, infrequent and low intensity – recreate prehistoric landscapes and provide a home for our wild plants, insects, birds and fungi. Natural and semi-natural grasslands (meaning those that are farmed but in a traditional, less intensive manner) improve the quality of our water, prevent flooding and help increase the resilience of farming to summer droughts. 

This grassland – and the healthy soil beneath it – also has an incredible and little-known potential to lock away atmospheric carbon. Soil carbon is a particularly valuable store; it is far more stable and long lasting than the carbon in trees, which is vulnerable to forest fires, pests and disease.

As plants live and grow, carbon from the atmosphere is drawn down into the plants’ roots, where the myriad creatures in the soil make use of it, locking it away beneath the ground. As the diversity of plants on the surface increases, so does the diversity of microorganisms, fungi and invertebrates beneath it. The more diverse the soil life, the richer the entire ecosystem – and the more carbon the soil can store.

The role of Mycorrhizal fungi

The almost mystical role of mycorrhizal fungi is now well known. They connect roots to the nutrients in the soil, trading sugars that plants and trees create from sunlight with locked away minerals the fungi extract from the soil. We now know that plants and trees can communicate through these fungal networks, alerting them to pests and diseases and passing nutrients to others in need.

Meadow on Dartmoor

Mycorrhizal fungi have another important role – they are critical in the ability of plants to transfer carbon to the soil. In areas of farmland, meadow and garden where the soil is ploughed, fertilised or dominated by a small number of grass species, these mycorrhizal networks are much less effective – with fewer species and a lower carbon storage potential. When we look after our farmland and gardens with care, mowing and grazing infrequently and gently, avoiding ploughing and pesticides, we nurture our mycorrhizal fungi, helping the soil to become a more potent carbon store.

How does No Mow May help?

By taking part in No Mow May, you will not only begin to create a home for wildflowers and insects, you will also create healthier soils that nourish your garden plants – and reduce your carbon footprint in the process.

England alone has around 640,000 hectares of private garden. If just a quarter of this area was transformed into wildflower rich meadow – by mowing just once or twice a year and collecting the cuttings – then these garden soils could potentially capture and store an additional amount of carbon equivalent to more than 3 million average cars’ annual emissions within a spade’s depth, and well over 10 million cars in soils as deep as one meter*.

A blossoming garden lawn full of wildflower

Lawns and gardens are of course just one part of the puzzle – the UK’s farmed grassland landscape offers tremendous potential for us to sequester carbon, while also protecting agriculture and biodiversity.

Farmers and landowners have a fundamental role to play – combining food production with sustainable grasslands that lock away carbon in healthy, ecologically rich soils. Some 40% of the UK’s land area is grassland – but much of this is intensively farmed, limiting its potential for carbon storage.

Globally, studies have suggested that 2.3-7.3 billion tons of CO2 equivalents per year could be sequestered through grassland diversity restoration. Carbon sequestration doesn’t just mean more trees. Healthy grassland, with the more sensitive grazing and less intensive farming that nourishes it, also keeps carbon out of the atmosphere. 

No matter how large or small our garden, we all have a role to play, and we can all make a difference. It’s easy to get started – just put your lawnmower away this May!

More about #NoMowMay

What does a No Mow May lawn look like?
No Mow May lawn with Bulbous Buttercup and Meadow saxifrage

What does a No Mow May lawn look like?

Thousands of people across the country have been letting it grow for #NoMowMay this year – and this is what it looks like!

No Mow May: Can your garden be a carbon store?
Garden meadow by pond (c) Shuttleworth

No Mow May: Can your garden be a carbon store?

It’s not just trees that capture and store carbon – our meadows and grasslands can play an important role too.

How to Grow a Wildflower Meadow
Wildflower meadow landscape with a variety of species near Cardiff, Wales

How to Grow a Wildflower Meadow

Whether it’s your back garden, local park, community field or lawn, wildflower meadows are amazing spaces with so much to offer.

Which seed should I use?

Whether you wish to create a meadow from scratch or introduce more wildflowers and grasses into your meadow or grassy area, or within your garden lawn, our species lists are here to guide you.

A wildflower meadow with yellow, white, purple flowers in among the grass. The meadow is in Ryewater, Dorset. Image is by Jo Costley.

When selecting seeds, the first things to think about are:

  • soil type
  • fertility levels
  • problem plants and how to manage them.

You can do this by understanding what the species that are already there are telling you about your soil, fertility and its existing species, and/or by carrying out a soil test. If you are wishing to introduce more species to an existing grassland, then knowing what you already have is important so that you can tailor what you introduce to be an appropriate match.

It is best to survey your grassy area over the summer and use our handy ‘plant forensics’ guide to help you understand which species are likely to do well, before purchasing any seed.

We recommend using local seed mixes which you can check against the most appropriate species list below to be sure of a good match. Alternatively, if you know a local meadow with appropriate species, and you can organise either green hay or brush-harvesting, or even hand collecting ripe seed of specific species, this would be even better.

Choosing your species

field full of variety of flowers in pink, yellow purple

To help you on your meadow-making journey, we have made these lists as a starting point for creating or restoring grassland in a typical species-poor or species-moderate grassland scenario.

Please note that these are not definitive lists, and different sites and situations may require a more bespoke approach. If your grassland is outside of the ‘norm’ such as within a national park or AONB – then contact us for a more bespoke guidance on seed-mixes which will reflect the site’s regional distinctiveness.

For example, a pH neutral hay meadow in the south west of England won’t have the same community as a neutral hay meadow in the Lake District . We have also left out species which are very geographically specific. So, if you have an unusual site with potential to support a rare habitat, then contact us for more bespoke list.

These lists divide the species into Groups 1, 2 and 3, in order of their fussiness to levels of fertility and difficulty establishing from seed-introduction.

  • Group 1 – fertility-tolerant and easy to establish from seed
  • Group 2 – moderate fertility, moderate colonisers from seed
  • Group 3 – poor colonisers, sensitive and poor soils only, may need introducing via established plugs

No quantities have been outlined in the lists below because seed providers should be able to provide this detail, or already have this outlined in their meadow-mixes. In general, however, grassland communities will be between 50-80% grass, and those with high fertility will usually settle into a higher percentage content of the grass species.

Species lists for different grassland types

pH Neutral grassland 5-6.5

  • Group 1

    • Black/Common KnapweedCentaurea nigra 
    • Burnet SaxifragePimpinella saxifrage 
    • Common Birds-foot TrefoilLotus corniculatus 
    • Meadow Vetchling – Lathyrus pratensis 
    • Ox-eye DaisyLeucanthemum vulgare 
    • Rough HawkbitLeontodon hispidus 
    • Bulbous ButtercupRanunculus bulbosus 
    • Common Cat’s-earHypochaeris radicata 
    • Common SorrelRumex acetosa 
    • Lesser TrefoilTrifolium dubium 
    • Ribwort PlantainPlantago lanceolata 
    • Meadow ButtercupRanunculus acris 
    • Red Clover (native variety)Trifolium pratense var pratense 
    • SelfhealPrunella vulgaris
    • YarrowAchillea millifolium 
    • Wild Carrot – Daucus carota 
    • Germander SpeedwellVeronica chamaedrys 
    • Black MedickMedicago lupilina 

     

  • Group 2

    • Autumn HawkbitScorzoneroides autumnalis 
    • Goat’s-beardTragopogon pratensis 
    • Musk MallowMalva moschata 
    • AgrimonyAgrimony eupatoria 
    • CowslipPrimula veris 
    • Lady’s BedstrawGallium verum 
    • Salad BurnetPoterium sanguisorba 
    • Yellow RattleRhinanthus minor 
    • BugleAjuga reptans 
    • Tufted Vetch – Viccia cracca 
    • Eyebright sp – Euphrasia sp. 
    • Common Milkwort – Polygala vulgaris 
    • TormentilPotentilla erecta 
    • PignutConopodium majus 

     

  • Group 3

    • Betony – Stachys officinalis
    • Common Spotted-orchidDactylohiza fuchsii (If more alkaline)
    • Bee Orchid – Ophrys apifera 
    • Pyramidal OrchidAnacamptis pyramidalis (If more alkaline)
    • Dyer’s GreenweedGenista tinctoria 
    • Wood AnemoneAnemone nemorosa 
    • Field ScabiousKnautia arvensis 

     

  • All these grasses can be introduced as seed (as per Group 1)

    Grasses to introduce (if absent):

      • Yellow Oat-grass – Trisetum flavescens
      • Smooth Meadow-grassPoa pratensis 
      • Meadow FoxtailAlopecurus pratensis 
      • Smaller Cat’s-tailPhleum bertolonii 
    Grasses (additional) if bare soil:

      • Yorkshire-fogHolcus lanatus 
      • Red FescueFestuca rubra 
      • Crested Dog’s-tailCynoscurus cristatus 
      • Common BentAgrostis capillaris 
      • Sweet Vernal-grassAnthoxanthum odoratum 
      • Meadow BarleyHordeum secalinum 

Wetter soils/floodplain (neutral pH 5-6.5)

  • Group 1

    • Ragged RobinSilene flos-cuculi 
    • CuckooflowerCardamine pratensis 
    • Great BurnetSanguisorba officinalis 
    • Greater Bird’s-foot TrefoilLotus pedunculatus 
    • Common SorrelRumex acetosa 
    • Lesser TrefoilTrifolium dubium 
    • AngelicaAngelica sylvestris 
    • Ribwort PlantainPlantago lanceolata 
    • Meadow ButtercupRanunculus acris 
    • Red Clover (native variety)Trifolium pratense var pratense 
    • Common FleabanePulicaria dysenterica 

     

  • Group 2

    • MeadowsweetFilipendula ulmaria 
    • Marsh/Fen BedstrawGallium uliginosum 
    • Water MintMentha aquatica 
    • Common BistortBistorta officinalis 
    • Common Meadow-rueThalictrum flavum 
    • Pepper SaxifrageSilaum silaus 
    • SneezewortAchillea ptarmica 
    • Creeping JennyLysimachia nummularia
    • Water AvensGeum rivale 
    • Narrow-leaved Water-dropwortOenanthe silaifolia 
    • Tufted VetchViccia cracca 
    • Marsh MarigoldCaltha palustris 

     

  • Group 3

    • Devil’s-bit ScabiousSuccisa pratensis 
    • Saw-wortSerratula tinctorium 
    • BetonyStachys officinalis 
    • Marsh SpeedwellVeronica scutellata 
    • Marsh ValerianValeriana dioica 
    • Southern Marsh OrchidDactylorhiza praetermissa (where more alkaline)

     

  • All these grasses can be introduced as seed (as per Group 1)

    Grasses to introduce (if not present):

    • Meadow FoxtailAlopecurus pratensis 
    • Sweet Vernal-grass  – Anthoxanthum odoratum 
    • Marsh FoxtailAlopecurus geniculatus 
    • Crested Dog’s-tailCynosurus cristatus 
    Grasses (additional) if bare soil:

    • Creeping BentAgrostis stolonifera 
    • Yorkshire-fogHolcus lanatus 
    • Red FescueFestuca rubra agg. 

Lowland acidic grassland (pH < 5.5)

  • Group 1

    • Common Bird’s-foot Trefoil – Lotus corniculatus 
    • Rough HawkbitLeontodon hispidus 
    • Field WoodrushLuzula campestris 
    Where mildly acidic:

    • Common Cat’s-earHypochaeris radicata 
    • Lesser TrefoilTrifolium dubium 
    • Ribwort PlantainPlantago lanceolata 
    • SelfhealPrunella vulgaris 
    • YarrowAchillea millifolium 
    • Black MedickMedicago lupilina 

     

  • Group 2

    • Sheep’s SorrelRumex acetosella 
    • Heather/Ling  – Calluna vulgaris 
    • Heath BedstrawGallium saxatile 
    • Lady’s Bedstraw (on mild acid)Gallium verum 
    • Lesser StitchwortStellaria graminea 
    • Bell HeatherErica cinerea
    • Common Bird’s-footOrnithopus perpusillus 
    • Common CentauryCentaurium erythraea 
    • Common Stork’s-billErodium cicutarium 
    • Heath MilkwortPolygala serpyllfolia 
    • Mouse-ear HawkweedPilosella officinarum 
    • TormentilPotentilla erecta 
    • Common Dog-violetViola reichenbechiana 
    • Heath VioletViola canina 
    • Autumn HawkbitScorzoneroides autumnalis (where mildly acidic)
    • PignutConopodium majus 

     

  • Group 3

    • Betony – Betonica officinalis
    • Devil’s-bit Scabious Succisa pratensis
    • Heath Spotted-orchidDactylorhiza maculata 
    • Wild ThymeThymus polytrichus 
    • Blue FleabaneErigeron acer 
    • Wood AnemoneAnemone nemorosa 
    • HarebellCampanula rotundifolia 
    • Heath Speedwell (on anthills)Veronica officinalis 
    • Field ScabiousKnautia arvensis 
    • Bitter-vetchLathyrus linifolius 
    • Lesser HawkbitLeontodon saxatilis 
    • Biting StonecropSedum acre 
    • LousewortPedicularis sylvatica 
    • Saw-wortSerratula tinctoria 
    • Wood SageTeucrium scorodonia 
    • Sheep’s-bitJasione montana 

     

  • All these grasses can be introduced as seed (as per Group 1)

    Grasses to introduce (if absent):

    • Sweet Vernal-grassAnthoxanthum odoratum 
    • Common BentAgrostis capillaris 
    • Red FescueFestuca rubra 
    • Sheep’s FescueFestuca ovina 
    • Wavy Hair-grassDeschampsia flexuosa 
    • Squirrel-tail FescueVulpia bromoides 
     

    • Early Hair-grassAira praecox 
    • Silver Hair-grassAira caryophyllea 
    • Heath GrassDanthonia decumbens 
    • Fine-leaved Sheep’s fescueFestuca filiformis 
    • Velvet Bent (where damp)Agrostis canina  
    • Brown BentAgrostis vinealis 

Lowland Calcareous pH > 6.5

  • Group 1

    • Common Bird’s-foot Trefoil – Lotus corniculatus 
    • Oxeye DaisyLeucanthemum vulgare 
    • Rough HawkbitLeontodon hispidus
    • Kidney VetchAnthyllis vulneraria 
    • Chalk KnapweedCentaurea debeauxii 

    Where mildly alkaline:

    • Bulbous ButtercupRanunculus bulbosus 
    • Common Cat’s-earHypochaeris radicata 
    • Common SorrelRumex acetosa 
    • Lesser TrefoilTrifolium dubium 
    • Ribwort PlantainPlantago lanceolata 
    • Red Clover (native variety)Trifolium pratense var pratense 
    • SelfhealPrunella vulgaris 
    • YarrowAchillea millifolium 
    • Germander SpeedwellVeronica chamaedrys
    • Black MedickMedicago lupilina 

     

  • Group 2

    • CowslipPrimula veris
    • Autumn HawkbitScorzoneroides autumnalis (where mildly alkaline)
    • Tufted VetchViccia cracca (where mildly alkaline)
    • Dwarf Thistle – Cirsium acaule 
    • Lady’s BedstrawGallium verum 
    • Sainfoin – Onobrychis viciifolia 
    • Salad BurnetPoterium sanguisorba 
    • Carline Thistle (s-facing)Carlina vulgaris  
    • Yellow RattleRhinanthus minor 
    • Common Centaury (well-drained)Centaurium erythraea 
    • Bladder Campion  – Silene vulgaris 
    • Common Stork’s-billErodium cicutarium 
    • Mouse-ear HawkweedPilosella officinarum 
    • Thyme-leaved SandwortArenaria serpyllifolia 
    • Wild Basil (southern UK)Clinopodium vulgare 
    • MarjoramOriganum vulgare 
    • Yellow-wortBlackstonia perfoliate 

     

  • Group 2 or 3

    • EyebrightsEuphrasia officinalis agg. 
    • Autumn GentianGentianella amarella 
    • English Gentian (only in south and midlands)Gentianella anglica 
    • Common MilkwortPolygala vulgaris 
    • Saw-wortSerratula tinctorium 
    • SquinancywortAsperula cynanchica 
    • Lesser HawkbitLeontodon saxatilis
    • Common Restharrow 
    • Wild Strawberry 

     

  • Group 3

    • Field ScabiousKnautia arvensis  
    • BetonyStachys officinalis
    • Clustered Bellflower 
    • Common Rock-roseHelianthemum nummularium 
    • Devil’s-bit ScabiousSuccisa pratensis 
    • Common Spotted-orchidDactylohiza fuchsii 
    • Pyramidal OrchidAnacamptis pyramidalis
    • Bee Orchid Ophrys apifera 
    • DropwortFilipendula vulgaris 
    • Fairy FlaxLinum catharticum 
    • Greater Knapweed 
    • Hairy Violet 
    • HarebellCampanula rotundifolia 
    • Hoary PlantainPlantago 
    • Horseshoe Vetch 
    • Small ScabiousScabiosa columbaria 
    • Wild ThymeThymus polytrichus 
    • Large ThymeThymus pulegioides 
    • Biting StonecropSedum acre 
    • Bloody Crane’s-bill 
    • Common MilkwortPolygala vulgaris 
    • Chalk Milkwort 

     

  • All these grasses can be introduced as seed (as per Group 1)

    Grasses to introduce (if absent):

    • Upright Brome – Bromopsis erecta 
    • Crested Dog’s-tailCynosurus cristatus 
    • Red FescueFestuca rubra agg. 
    • Downy Oat-grassHelictotrichon pubescens 
    • Meadow Oat-grassHelictotrichon pratense 
    • Yellow Oat-grassTrisetum flavescens
    • Narrow-leaved Meadow-grassPoa angustifolia 
    • Quaking-grassBriza media 
    • Crested Hair-grassKoeleria macrantha 
    • Yellow Oat-grassTrisetum flavescens 
    • Sheep’s FescueFestuca ovina 

Upland habitats – all those grasslands which are above approximately 250m (sea level). If close to 250m and somewhat sheltered, the above lowland species may also thrive.

Upland calcareous pH > 6.5

  • Group 1

    • Common Bird’s-foot Trefoil – Lotus corniculatus 
    • Rough HawkbitLeontodon hispidus

     

  • Group 2

     

    • Salad BurnetPoterium sanguisorba 
    • Carline Thistle (s-facing)Carlina vulgaris 
    • Mouse-ear HawkweedPilosella officinarum 

     

  • Group 2 or 3

    • EyebrightsEuphrasia officinalis agg. 
    • Autumn GentianGentianella amarella 
    • SquinancywortAsperula cynanchica 

     

  • Group 3

    • Common Rock-roseHelianthemum nummularium 
    • DropwortFilipendula vulgaris 
    • Devil’s-bit ScabiousSuccisa pratensis 
    • Fairy FlaxLinum catharticum 
     

    • HarebellCampanula rotundifolia 
    • Wild ThymeThymus polytrichus 
    • Small Scabious Scabiosa columbaria 
    • Horseshoe VetchHippocrepis comosa 

     

  • All these grasses can be introduced as seed (as per Group 1)

    Grasses to introduce (if absent):

    • Upright Brome – Bromopsis erecta 
    • Crested Dog’s-tailCynosurus cristatus 
    • Red FescueFestuca rubra agg. 
    • Downy Oat-grassHelictotrichon pubescens 
    • Meadow Oat-grassHelictotrichon pratense 
    • Yellow Oat-grassTrisetum flavescens
    • Narrow-leaved Meadow-grassPoa angustifolia 
    • Quaking-grassBriza media 
    • Crested Hair-grassKoeleria macrantha 
    • Sheep’s FescueFestuca ovina 

Upland acid pH < 5.5

  • Group 1

    • Common Bird’s-foot Trefoil – Lotus corniculatus 
    • Field Woodrush – Luzula campestris 
    • Rough HawkbitLeontodon hispidus

     

  • Group 2

     

    • Sheep’s Sorrel – Rumex acetosella 
    • Heath BedstrawGallium saxatile 
    • Heather/LingCalluna vulgaris 
    • TormentilPotentilla erecta (group 2 or 3)

     

  • All these grasses can be introduced as seed (as per Group 1)

    Grasses to introduce (if absent):

    • Sweet Vernal-grassAnthoxanthum odoratum 
    • Common BentAgrostis capillaris 
    • Sheep’s FescueFestuca ovina 
    • Wavy Hair-grassDeschampsia flexuosa 
    • Yorkshire-fogHolcus lanatus 
    • Fine-leaved Sheep’s Fescue  – Festuca filiformis  
    • Velvet Bent (where damp)Agrostis canina 
    • Brown BentAgrostis vinealis 
    • Squirrel-tail FescueVulpia bromoides 
    • Early HairgrassAira praecox 
    • Silver Hair-grassAira caryophyllea 
    • Heath Grass Danthonia decumbens 

Upland hay meadows pH neutral 5 – 6.5

  • Group 1

    • Common Bird’s-foot Trefoil – Lotus corniculatus 
    • Black/common KnapweedCentaurea nigra 
    • Burnet SaxifragePimpinella saxifrage 
    • Great Burnet Sanguisorba officinalis 
    • Rough HawkbitLeontodon hispidus
    • Ragged RobinSilene flos-cuculi 
    • Meadow VetchlingLathyrus pratensis 
    • Autumn HawkbitScorzoneroides autumnalis (group 1 or 2)

     

  • Group 2

     

    • BugleAjuga reptans 
    • MeadowsweetFilipendula ulmaria 
    • Lady’s MantlesAlchemilla sp. 
    • Marsh MarigoldCaltha palustris 
    • SneezewortAchillea ptarmica
    • Water AvensGeum rivale 
    • Common BistortBistorta officinalis 

     

     

  • Group 2 or 3

    • EyebrightsEuphrasia officinalis agg. 
    • TormentilPotentilla erecta
    • PignutConopodium majus 
    • Saw-wortSerratula tinctorium 
    • Yellow RattleRhinanthus minor 

     

  • Group 3

     

    • Devil’s-bit ScabiousSuccisa pratensis 
    • Wood Anemone Anemone nemorosa 
     

    • Wood Crane’s-bill 
    • Meloncholy ThistleCirsium heterophyllum  

     

  • All these grasses can be introduced as seed (as per Group 1)

    Grasses to introduce (if absent):

     

    • Yellow Oat-grassTrisetum flavescens
    • Smooth Meadow-grassPoa pratensis 
    • Yorkshire-fogHolcus lanatus 
    • Crested Dog’s-tailCynosurus cristatus 
    • Red FescueFestuca rubra agg. 
     

    • Common Bent – Agrostis capillaris 
    • Sweet Vernal-grassAnthoxanthum odoratum 
    • Meadow BarleyHordeum secalinum 
My Meadow Story: Making a Meadow in Rural Wales 
A meadow filled with wildflowers in Carmathenshire, Wales

My Meadow Story: Making a Meadow in Rural Wales 

Ever wondered how biodiverse meadows are made? Plantlife volunteers Andrew and Helen tell us about their own meadow story in Carmarthenshire.

The Wildlife in our Meadows
Duke of Burgundy butterfly on cowslip.

The Wildlife in our Meadows

From bumblebees to birds and moths to mammals – meadows are micro-cities of wildlife. Here's what to spot in your wildflower meadow.

How to Grow a Wildflower Meadow
Wildflower meadow landscape with a variety of species near Cardiff, Wales

How to Grow a Wildflower Meadow

Whether it’s your back garden, local park, community field or lawn, wildflower meadows are amazing spaces with so much to offer.

How to Start a Community Meadow?

How to Start a Community Meadow?

Want to start a community meadow, but not sure where to begin? Read our guide to creating a flower-filled haven for your local community.

Creating a meadow is a really simple way to bring the local community together, whilst doing something positive for nature.

You don’t need to be an expert to start one – we’ve shared our tips for how to begin, what to plant, how to manage your green space year-round and how to engage the community.

So, what are community meadows? They are areas, predominantly of grassland, that are owned and managed by the community, such as parks, road verges, school grounds, village greens, church land or fields.

A meadow with Oxeye daisies, lush green grass and woodlands in the background

Why should you start a community meadow?

  • For the benefit of nature
  • To create an ecosystem where wildlife can flourish
  • Bring the community together
  • To bring nature into towns and cities
  • Help tackle biodiversity loss and store carbon

Read more: How to grow a wildflower meadow

Getting started

Now you’ve decided to try and start a community meadow, it’s hard to know where to begin. We’ve got plenty of experience and advice to help you along the way.

Contact your local council – Whether it’s parish, town or district council, reaching out to your local decision makers to promote wildlife-friendly management can make a big difference. Local support can really help to bring about change, whether that’s through a volunteer group or social media page. Check out our Good Meadows Guide for some convincing arguments.

Positive perceptions – Some people might be concerned that not cutting a greenspace as regularly might make it look neglected and untidy. But, framing a greenspace by cutting narrow strips around the wildflower area can offset some negative perceptions. Other concerns about plant height for road safety can be tackled by growing shorter species, which can still support an array of pollinators such as clovers, trefoils, Selfheal and Yarrow.

Communicating at every step – Telling people what and why you are creating a meadow is crucial for understanding. By bringing the community with you and working together, it will be easier to explain the benefits of meadow making. You could write something in the local magazine, talk about your meadow-making journey on social media or put up a sign.

Community activities – Bringing the community together to help create a meadow can be very beneficial. You can run activities, join campaigns or hold events to gather momentum.

  • Plantlife’s No Mow May is a great starting point to encourage the community to take part in a community meadow and see the benefits. People without their own gardens can actively get involved in helping wildlife, tackling pollution and even locking carbon beneath the ground. And those with their own green spaces can take their enthusiasm home and do #NoMowMay in their own gardens. Sign up your green space or garden here.

 

How to fund a community meadow?

If you need some help funding your community meadow, these places might be able to offer support:

  • Charity Commission – A range of charities offer funding for community meadows. You need to complete an advanced search under ‘how the charity helps’.
  • Local Supermarket Community Grants – Most supermarkets support local causes through tax on carrier bags or instore tokens such as Tesco, Asda and Co-op. 
  • Postcode Local Trust – Grants of up to £2,000 for community interest groups and voluntary organisations are up for grabs.
  • Local Community Foundations – They channel funding to local projects and will be able to advise on where to access support.
  • Local Councils – Contacting your local authority and asking them about available funding is definitely worth a shot.
  • Area’s of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs) and National Parks – If your meadow lies in either of these areas, it’s worth contacting your local organisation to see if there is any funding available.
  • Lottery – Small lottery grants, worth £300-£10,000 are available across the UK.

We hope that this helps you in creating a wonderful community meadow. Do let us know on social media when you have tried these methods and your progress in creating a meadow by tagging us.

Find a meadow group near you:

Are you feeling inspired, but not sure where to start? Aside from Plantlife’s guidance, a great source of  knowledge and personal support can be from meadow groups. A huge variety of groups exist across the country, who manage meadows for hay, livestock or community benefits. These groups could also be good places to start when searching for local seeds or advice.

If you would like to add your community meadow group to our list, please get in touch here.

More ways to learn about wild plants and fungi

What does a No Mow May lawn look like?
No Mow May lawn with Bulbous Buttercup and Meadow saxifrage

What does a No Mow May lawn look like?

Thousands of people across the country have been letting it grow for #NoMowMay this year – and this is what it looks like!

How to Start a Community Meadow?

How to Start a Community Meadow?

Want to start a community meadow, but not sure where to begin? Read our guide to creating a flower-filled haven for your local community.

How to Grow a Wildflower Meadow
Wildflower meadow landscape with a variety of species near Cardiff, Wales

How to Grow a Wildflower Meadow

Whether it’s your back garden, local park, community field or lawn, wildflower meadows are amazing spaces with so much to offer.

Meadows come to life in the spring and summer, bursting with vibrant wildflowers and buzzing with insects and animals. But species-rich grassland areas, which used to occur commonly throughout Britain, are now amongst the most threatened habitats in the UK.

Approximately 97% of wildflower meadows have been lost across the UK since the 1930s. That’s why wildflowers and meadows are not only beautiful staples of the British countryside, but also crucial habitats that need restoring.

Why are meadows so amazing?

  • They are important ecosystems
  • Species-rich grasses can significantly improve carbon storage in the soil
  • They provide a brilliant habitat for bees, butterflies, birds and small mammals
  • Old grasslands can have very diverse fungal networks
  • In fact, 140 plant species can be found in a single meadow

WATCH: Not just a pretty space, this is a living space

So, the more areas that can be turned into wildflower meadows, the better things get for nature.

No matter the size of your land, the process of making a wildflower meadow is pretty much the same. Follow these steps to start your meadow-making journey:

Cut the grass

Before sowing seed, in late summer or autumn, you must cut the grass as short as possible. The cuttings must then be removed because most meadow species thrive in nutrient-poor soil with low fertility levels. Leaving the cuttings on the grass to rot down, both stifles delicate seedlings, and adds nutrients.

This can easily be done using a strimmer or mower and the cuttings removed with a rake.

Tackle any problem plants

It is really important to control any problem plants that could prevent your meadow from thriving. For example, species such as Nettle, Creeping Thistle and Dock can rapidly spread and crowd wildflowers in poorly managed meadows.

To stop this, it is best to pull these plants out by hand, cut their heads before they set seed or spot spray them. Bramble and scrub will also need to be controlled before creating a meadow.

If you have lots of problem plants, it will be easier (if possible) to try and create a meadow on another piece of land.

Create bare ground

Bare ground is simply an area that has no plants living in it. It provides germination gaps and growing space for meadow flowers and grasses. Having about 50-70% of land as bare ground will increase your chances of creating a wildflower meadow.

This can be done by hand with vigorous raking, strimming or using a rented garden scarifier.

Sow seeds

Sprinkle and gently trample in your seeds, which can be mixed with sand for easier spreading. During drier spells, water the ground if possible, but do not wash away the seeds.

Then, over the next few months pull up any Creeping Thistle and Dock or cut the flower heads off and remove before they set seed (these can spread fast and smother wildflowers).

Knowing a bit about your soil can also really help you to choose which seeds to sow. There are many factors that can influence what will grow including the soil type, fertility, location, weather, availability of light and what’s already growing there.

Don’t worry if your meadow looks a bit plain in its first year, many perennials take at least a couple of years to establish.

We hope that these tips help you in creating a wonderful meadow. Do share your meadow-making journey with us on social media by tagging us.

More ways to learn about wild plants and fungi

No Mow May: Can your garden be a carbon store?
Garden meadow by pond (c) Shuttleworth

No Mow May: Can your garden be a carbon store?

It’s not just trees that capture and store carbon – our meadows and grasslands can play an important role too.

The Wildlife in our Meadows
Duke of Burgundy butterfly on cowslip.

The Wildlife in our Meadows

From bumblebees to birds and moths to mammals – meadows are micro-cities of wildlife. Here's what to spot in your wildflower meadow.

Finding Hazel Gloves Fungus: Why Recording Matters

Finding Hazel Gloves Fungus: Why Recording Matters

Hazel Gloves Fungus is a priority species on the UK Biodiversity Action Plan, learn more about this rainforest fungi this Reverse the Red month.

Wildflower meadows, a staple of the British countryside, are a buzz of activity, especially in the spring and summer. It’s not just the wildflowers and fungi that rely on their diverse vegetation, in fact, a range of wildlife can call these habitats home. By growing a meadow, you can also create a home or hunting ground for bees, butterflies, invertebrates, birds, mammals and reptiles.

Here are some of the animals you might spot in a meadow:

Invertebrates

A Flower Beetle resting on a large Oxeye Daisy, image by Pip Gray
  • Creating a meadow can really make a buzz and life in the centre can be like rush hour for insects
  • You can see everything, from ants to grasshoppers and huge armies of beetles and bugs
  • For many invertebrates, the stems, roots and leaves of meadow grasses and flowers provide food and shelter
  • The Cockchafer Beetle, commonly known as the May Bug, relies on grassy areas to lay their eggs
  • The common Bird’s-foot-Trefoil alone is a food plant for 130 different species of invertebrates

Our friends at Buglife can tell you more

Bees

Buff tailed bumblebee feeding on Knapweed
  • Pollinators, such as bees, commute to meadows every day to feast on nectar and pollen
  • Managing a meadow appropriately will increase the number of wildflowers that it supports, thus increasing the foraging habitat for bumblebees and other foragers
  • Red-tailed Bumblebees, found across the UK, rely on a plentiful supply of wild plants including dandelions and red clovers to supply them with nectar and pollen
  • If you’re in a meadow, look out for bumblebees, burrowing bees, flower bees, carder bees and honeybees
  • There are about 270 species of bee in Britain

Buzz over to the Bumblebee Trust here.

Butterflies and Moths

  • Even in a small meadow, wildflowers can be a magnet for butterflies and moths
  • When you’re planting for butterflies it’s good to have a constant procession of flowering plants throughout the summer – something that is in flower for as long as possible – ideally from March to November
  • This means local populations of butterflies and moths will not have to travel too far to find food
  • The Meadow Brown butterfly is one of the most common species found in grasslands
  • While the brightly coloured Cinnabar Moth relies entirely on one of the sunniest wildflowers – the yellow Common Ragwort. The tiger-striped caterpillars munch on the plant before pupating underground over the winter, ready to emerge as moths the next year

Flutter over to Butterfly Conservation for a bit more

Birds

  • The many insects that call meadows home also support other wildlife like swallows, skylarks and yellow wagtails
  • Goldfinches and linnets feast on the abundant seed heads
  • While lapwings, curlew and starling search the ground for insects from early autumn to spring

Fly over to the RSPB for a bit more

 

Mammals

Brown hare
  • Meadows provide a place for wild animals to forage, breed and nest – and if the grasses are tall enough, they can provide shelter
  • A large number of small mammals can call meadows home – including mice, voles and shrews
  • They also attract birds of prey to meadows, especially owls and kestrels
  • Other mammals you might spot in a meadow include moles, rabbits, hares, badgers and grazing deer
    • And we can’t forget bats – who can be seen in the summer months flying low over grassland

Meander over to the Mammal Society to find out more

Reptiles and Amphibians

  • Allowing lawns or green spaces to develop into meadows can provide a great habitat for amphibians, reptiles and their prey – unlike closely-mown lawns
  • The tall grasses and flowers (vegetation) provide these animals with cover
  • Reptiles and amphibians also prefer native plant species and minimal use of pesticides as they mainly feed on invertebrates, other amphibians and small mammals

Slither over to Amphibian and Reptile Conservation to find out more

.

  • Go to:

Significant agri-environment measures have been announced by the government, with light finally being shone on species-rich grassland.  

This is the change Plantlife has been calling for – and the choreography of the announcement could not be more symbolic.  

What was announced? 

While we were at the Oxford Real Farming Conference, DEFRA Minister Steve Barclay was at the Oxford Farming Conference where he announced significant changes to the Environmental Land Management (ELM) scheme (England’s new agri-environment scheme, paying farmers for more nature-friendly farming practices). 

One of the headline-grabbing announcements was an increase in funding for farmers managing species-rich grasslands in Countryside Stewardship (CS). Farmers who had previously been offered £182 per hectare can now expect £646/ha for the same land.  

Plantlife and its partners, alongside farmers, have been advocating for this policy change – a complete revaluing of these extraordinary multifunctional habitats.

What’s the problem?

Small square hay bailer in field

While this is an overall win for species-rich grassland, the Sustainable Farming Incentive (SFI) payment rates are still too low.  

The low SFI payment rates risk more loss and destruction of irreplaceable meadows, as farmers can be rewarded more for ploughing and fertilising species-rich grassland, than maintaining them.  

Instead, farmers need to be offered better incentives to do the right thing for grasslands and wildlife.  

Crucially, alongside money, these schemes also need to provide the other thing that farmers need – accessible, high-quality and free (or affordable) advice. Whether farmers are taking the first leap, or tackling ever more ambitious restoration work, they need to know they can access the support needed.  

And there is still so much more that must be done to retore and protect grasslands across the country. That’s why we will continue, alongside our partners, to call on the government to commit to develop a Grassland Action Plan (GAP) for England.  

What should happen next?

This announcement is clearly moving in the right direction for the benefit of grasslands and farming. To build on this progress, we recommend that: 

  • The UK Government develops a Grassland Action Plan (GAP) for England, which: 
    • follows a strategic approach – prioritising all remaining high-quality grasslands; 
    • sets ambitious targets for species-rich grassland restoration and creation; 
    • steers ELM options to give more consistent signals to farmers on the value of their species-rich grassland, 
  • Managing species-rich grassland must also be available in Mid-Tier Countryside Stewardship, not just Higher-Tier; 
  • Additional advisory resources must be provided freely, or at low cost, to help farmers achieve good environmental outcomes from their land, and to expedite the assessment and listing of high-quality grasslands on the Priority Habitat Inventory so they are eligible for payment; 
  • Payments for low/no input grasslands in the Sustainable Farming Incentive must be increased to properly incentivise farmers and prevent more losses of species-rich grassland; 
  • Safeguards must be put in place to prevent semi-improved grasslands, with restoration potential, from being entered inappropriately into herbal ley ELM options. 
Cows in a field of grass by a gate in Greena Moor

What’s everyone else saying? 

It’s important to note that farming is not two separate camps – it is a continuum. Farmers plough their own furrows and few fit neatly into pigeonholes when it comes to method.  It is striking, then, that the announcement on species-rich grasslands is drawing similar responses from voices across conservation and farming.  

For example, the National Farming Union’s (NFU) president Minette Batters tweeted: “Credit where it’s due to @DefraGovUK. I’ve been critical of the lack of value in species rich grassland; delighted that the payment rate now reflects the incredible biodiversity & sequestered carbon benefits of grass.” 

Many of our GAP partners have echoed sentiments of support, such as Butterfly Conservation. 

The details and our thoughts

Managing species-rich grassland in Countryside Stewardship:  

  • We welcome the increase in rates per hectare from £182 to £646 
  • It rewards farmers who have taken the plunge and committed land to the higher-level agri-environment schemes  
  • But this change is only likely to bring a modest area of land into appropriate management because only grassland on the Priority Habitats Inventory (PHI) will be eligible, and the PHI is far from complete  
  • Additional resources are needed to expedite the assessment and listing of good quality grasslands, without significant extra work or delay for farmers  
  • Farmers in mid-tier Country Stewardship might also be cautious about taking up these options without better access to advisory and support services  

Restoration or creation of species-rich grasslands in Countryside Stewardship:  

  • These options pay at the same rate as management options (£646/ha) – and again are welcomed  
  • These rates should generate interest, but many farmers will also want to know whether they will have access to sufficient advisory support 
  • These options are also only available in Higher Tier Countryside Stewardship, which could significantly limit uptake as there is no intermediate option available 

Species-rich floodplain meadows in Countryside Stewardship: 

  • We welcome new options at £1,070/ha for managing and connecting floodplain meadows  
  • The change to payment rates reflects the immense multifunctional benefits of these habitats and the complexity of their management  
  • Floodplain meadows are at the cutting edge of nature-based solutions to the climate-fuelled challenges of managing soils, water and carbon, as well as restoring nature 

No change to Sustainable Farming Incentive grassland management rates:  

  • The increases to CS rates highlight the gap compared to SFI incentives for grassland, which remain at a low level in SFI 
  • It is yet to be seen whether higher CS rates will encourage farmers to accelerate towards applying to enter CS. The risk remains that the higher payment rates for other SFI options, (such as £382/ha for herbal leys, compared to £151/ha for managing grassland with very low inputs), incentivise farmers to plough up/plant permanent grassland to enter into other SFI options, resulting in further loss of grassland habitat  
  • We have previously highlighted the need for better safeguards around the entry of land into SFI herbal ley options, which attract higher payments than low-input grassland management. This is because there isn’t a mechanism to differentiate between the eligible improved grassland, and grassland that has been semi-improved but still has some restoration potential 
  • The risks remain that semi-improved grassland with restoration potential is entered into herbal leys, or that species-rich grassland is fertilised or ploughed in order to ensure its eligibility  

Advice and support are needed:  

  • These changes demonstrate how vital it is that, alongside money, these ELM schemes also provide advice and support for farmers  
  • This should be available for all farmers, whether taking their first steps into grassland restoration or tackling ever-bigger restoration projects  
  • The UK government announcement refers to advisory services, but without detail 

Our work

Fen Orchid Programme

Fen Orchid Programme

A more than 10 years programme of increasing the population of the Fen Orchid in the UK lead by Plantlife.

A big win for grassland, but farmers need more
Cows in a field of grass by a gate in Greena Moor

A big win for grassland, but farmers need more

After a big government announcement, our experts have been delving into the details on the latest funding changes for farmers.

Sustainable farming needs government support, report reveals
Wildflowers growing in a meadow with cattle behind

Sustainable farming needs government support, report reveals

As governments continue to undervalue grasslands, Plantlife is calling on policymakers to help farmers make sustainable choices. 

  • Go to:

Species-rich meadows and pastures are hanging by a thread. As we watch governments deciding on detail and picking payment rates for their respective agri-environment schemes – will policy decisions be lifelines for farmers and nature, or money for old rope?   

It is time for us to take a new look at old grasslands.  

Understanding the value of grasslands

Small square hay bailer in field

Permanent, species-rich grassland needs to be properly valued, prioritised and resourced. We are calling on policymakers to help our brilliant farmers protect these special grasslands, which are the product of decisions by generations of farmers.

Today a strategic approach by governments – in England, Scotland and Wales – is needed to ensure the right decisions for future generations, for nature and for grassland.

Why should governments listen?

Our new report ‘Farming Income for Semi-Natural Grasslands’ shines a light on the risks, rewards and potential in farming nature-rich grasslands. It spells out some of the tough questions facing farming and conservation efforts in England, Wales and Scotland – and what governments can do to help.

The report highlights inspiring farmers who are rethinking the value of species-rich grasslands as a way to rebalance inputs, outputs and profit. Many of them are concluding that permanent low-input grasslands can be key to making farm finances more sustainable.

However, other farmers are re-evaluating these grasslands and warning that agri-environment scheme offers aren’t sufficient to secure the future management of species-rich grasslands, the report reveals. Right now, for example, farmers in Wales are being offered drastically reduced payment rates for habitat management and in England farmers are being offered less for managing species-rich grasslands than they would get on the same land for short term herbal leys of minimal conservation value.

WATCH: Plantlife’s Agricultural Advisor, Hywel Morgan talks about the benefits of sustainable farming:

Cows in a field of grass by a gate in Greena Moor

Governments need to prioritise grasslands

Governments across the UK need to have strategic approaches to permanent grasslands, the report concludes. Grasslands need to be recognised for their multifunctionality when it comes to land use, nature and climate.

Strategic plans for grassland should include:

  • long-term agri-environment schemes to provide a compelling basis for farmers to see permanent species-rich grassland as a viable business option;
  • access to high quality advisory and support services for farmers, including peer-to-peer knowledge transfer on managing high nature value grasslands
  • developing grassland data and specialist capacity within government agencies.

Why are grasslands important?

Permanent grasslands in the UK have been persistently undervalued, our previous work [1] with partners has demonstrated. Alongside producing high-quality food, these grasslands deliver habitats for nature, ecological connectivity, carbon and water storage, flood mitigation, and healthy soils. In summary, species-rich grasslands offer a way to combine food production with nature, in ways more complementary than competitive.

The report ‘Farming Income for Semi-Natural Grasslands’ was funded by Airwick Botanica, and researched and compiled by SLR Consulting, on behalf of a partnership of WWF UK, Plantlife and Pasture for Life.  The partner bodies are very grateful to the inspiring farmers who volunteered case studies.

Our work

Fen Orchid Programme

Fen Orchid Programme

A more than 10 years programme of increasing the population of the Fen Orchid in the UK lead by Plantlife.

A big win for grassland, but farmers need more
Cows in a field of grass by a gate in Greena Moor

A big win for grassland, but farmers need more

After a big government announcement, our experts have been delving into the details on the latest funding changes for farmers.

Sustainable farming needs government support, report reveals
Wildflowers growing in a meadow with cattle behind

Sustainable farming needs government support, report reveals

As governments continue to undervalue grasslands, Plantlife is calling on policymakers to help farmers make sustainable choices. 

  • Go to:

About Local Nature Recovery Strategies

Local Nature Recovery Strategies (LNRSs) are a crucial element of the UK government’s commitments to turn the tide on species loss in England. If they are properly informed and implemented, they could deliver huge gains for biodiversity and serve to reconnect communities with nature recovery. 

The intention is that each of the 48 LNRS regions (broadly following county lines) will produce a locally owned and informed action plan to;
a) spotlight and map high priority areas for biodiversity where nature can be conserved, restored, and connected and
b) establish a sense of local ownership and responsibility for wildlife.

As these strategies are going to target a lot of future conservation work in England it’s absolutely vital that we get them right, and make sure they deliver the wide range of environmental benefits that we urgently need.  

Plantlife are using this opportunity to advocate the indispensable role that wild plants and fungi play in ecosystem function, and to help responsible authorities design and deliver LNRSs with species protection at their hearts. 

Our recommendations

1. Including specialist data on habitats and species to produce a really well-informed knowledge base of local biodiversity.

Having this knowledge base early on will produce the most reliable map of opportunities for biodiversity protection and enhancement going forwards.

2. Implementing measures to boost species diversity and prevent the further loss of species.

Increasing the structural diversity of a habitat will create more niches for different species to occupy, and it’s important that bespoke plans for priority species present are always included within habitat management. This will prevent extinctions, while improving the condition of the overall habitat. 

3. Recognising our grasslands for the powerful nature-based solutions that they are.

Species-rich grasslands are some of our most reliable habitats for carbon storage and wildlife support, but they are being lost at an alarming rate.

Designing LNRSs which protect and restore species rich grasslands will support whole communities of wildlife and create stable, long-term sub-soil carbon stores.

4. Promoting a diversity of management approaches across our treescape to reflect the unique requirements of each woodland type.

Woods and trees need to be managed to sustain the breadth of species they can support, this means diversifying our woods in terms of tree species and age, creating open spaces and transitional habitats, and preserving ancient trees for lichen and bryophyte diversity.
 

5. Always working to the principle of ‘Right Tree, Right Place, Right Management’ when designing tree planting schemes.

Increasing tree cover cannot come at the cost of our existing priority wildlife and carbon stores.
 

6. Mitigating the damaging impacts of air pollution, through nature-based solutions and emission reduction measures.

Air pollution is a serious issue nationally, and it threatens wildlife as well as human health. LNRS provide an opportunity to tackle this threat both by mapping sources of emissions and areas of high deposition and implementing measures to mitigate the impacts of pollution.

7. Improving the condition and extent of green infrastructure networks.

Well-designed and protected urban green space such as road verges and amenity grasslands connect urban habitats with the wider countryside.

This reverses habitat fragmentation, locks away carbon, supports biodiversity, reduces pollution, tackles heat extremes, minimises flooding and improves health and wellbeing.

8. Taking steps to improve local ecosystem health and climate resilience.

Many of the  threats our species and habitats are currently facing are projected to worsen with rising global temperatures, but by leveraging the power of local each LNRSs can make a difference at a small scale which, scaled up across England, can improve our overall resilience. 

What you can do

Our work

A big win for grassland, but farmers need more
Cows in a field of grass by a gate in Greena Moor

A big win for grassland, but farmers need more

After a big government announcement, our experts have been delving into the details on the latest funding changes for farmers.

Sustainable farming needs government support, report reveals
Wildflowers growing in a meadow with cattle behind

Sustainable farming needs government support, report reveals

As governments continue to undervalue grasslands, Plantlife is calling on policymakers to help farmers make sustainable choices. 

A Temperate Rainforest Strategy for England:
branches and tree covered with lichens

A Temperate Rainforest Strategy for England:

A new English government strategy for temperate rainforest has been released, but restoring the rainforest in England requires a more detailed approach that recognises and addresses the threats. To put the rainforest on the path to recovery, concrete action is needed.