Skip to main content

Species-rich grasslands are extraordinary ecosystems, with native wild plants at their heart. Soils bursting with life, fungal networks covering unknown thousands of miles, carbon uptake, flood mitigation, nutrient-rich additive-free grazing, and the inspiration for iconic artists and writers over the centuries – meadows and grasslands are simply magnificent in many more ways than first meets the eye.

Yet a staggering 97% of wildflower meadows and 80% of chalk grasslands have been eradicated since the 1940s, now covering less than 1% of UK land. Of the remaining three percent, 75% exist in small fragments making them especially vulnerable to eradication. This really is a habitat on the brink.

Restoring meadows across England

Clover in a hay meadow

Plantlife spearheaded the hugely successful Meadow Makers project that restored over 400 hectares of species-rich grassland across England and involved over 12,000 people in meadow making. The key project achievements were:

  • 400ha species-rich grassland restored at over 100 sites with new post-restoration management regimes put in place
  • Advice given on the management of a further 100ha of land
  • Over 12,000 people improved their meadow knowledge and skills by taking part in face-to-face and online training sessions and knowledge sharing events.

The legacy of the Meadow Makers project promises to make a positive difference for our grasslands for years to come. The project had seen a range of resources, videos and practical advice brought together through Plantlife’s Meadows Hub, while trainees, land managers and project staff have been upskilled in all aspects of meadow restoration and management.

One of the most significant benefits which the Meadow Makers project has brought is the strong relationships which it has helped to develop between partners, landowners and local communities. This has been particularly noticeable when smallholders or community groups, who lack their own equipment or animals for grazing, have joined forces with others who may be able to help, in turn ensuring long-term management.

The Meadow Makers project was primarily funded by Defra’s Green Recovery Challenge Fund, with support from Plantlife supporters Meadows Honey.

Meadow Makers was a Plantlife led partnership with Arnside & Silverdale AONB, High Weald AONBs, Cumbria Wildlife Trust, Duchy of Cornwall, Herefordshire Meadows, Moor Meadows and the Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust.

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.