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Plantlife's appeal for help to protect Ribble Valley meadows

A Coronation Meadow at Bell Sykes Farm. (s)
A Coronation Meadow at Bell Sykes Farm. (s)
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Slaidburn farmers will celebrate National Meadows Day with a raft of free craft sessions to help raise awareness of endangered wildlife.

The event will be hosted from 10am until 4pm on Saturday at Bell Sykes Farm, Slaidburn, to help highlight the destruction of more than 97% of wildflower meadows since the 1930s.

Traditional scything at Bell Sykes Farm. (s)

Traditional scything at Bell Sykes Farm. (s)

It will offer photography workshops, two guided walks and a raft of demonstrations, including stone and wood-carving, rag-rugging, wool-spinning, rake-making, and hay-making and scything. Tea and cake will also be available to buy.

Claire Parton, head of projects for charity Plantlife, said: “The steady, quiet, and under-reported decline of our meadows is one of the biggest tragedies in the history of UK nature conservation.

“If over 97% of our woodland had been destroyed there would be a national outcry.

“That is why National Meadows Day is so important - now more than ever it is essential to shine a light on these precious habitats and to reverse their decline.”

A single healthy meadow can be home to more than 80 species of wildflowers, according to Claire.

They are also havens for more than 1,370 species of insects, including bees, butterflies, hoverflies, ants, worms and beetles, compared to modern farming pasture which typically hosts under a dozen.

Plants like bird’s-foot-trefoil can support 160 species of insects but the ragged robin and harebell are now endangered.

Claire added: “It is only through connecting with nature that people can begin to value its full worth and attending the event at Bell Sykes Farm is a great way to explore meadows and appreciate their special place in our social and cultural history.”

“Meadows are more than just pretty flowers.

“Beyond being a quintessential sight of summer, their value to our wildlife cannot be overstated.”

To book on a guided walk (for an extra charge) call the Forest of Bowland AONB office on 01200 448000.