Cornwall set to bloom as the National Trust begins a major grassland creation project at Lanhydrock.
Clifftops and fields across Cornwall are set to be transformed into thriving wildflower meadows, thanks to a new three-year conservation project by the National Trust.
The scheme will create 250 hectares of species-rich grassland at sites across the county in a bid to boost rare and threatened coastal wildlife, such as solitary bees, skylarks, swifts and common lizards.
Ninety-seven per cent of species-rich grassland has been lost in the UK since the 1930s, with the remaining 3% mostly fragmented across the country, leaving little room for wildlife to spread.
As well as this loss of habitat, climate change is further compounding issues for native species, causing more extreme weather events and shifting seasons.
Jon Stewart, general manager for the National Trust, said: “The fact we’ve lost such a high proportion of beautiful and enriching meadows is having a big impact on wildlife, and is a loss to our collective wellbeing. We’re committed to reversing this trend at the National Trust and this project is a really important contribution.”
To kick start the initiative, this week Trust staff, volunteers, a local tenant farmer and members of the public, accompanied by music from a Cornish community folk group, began sowing the first of the grassland at the Trust’s Lanhydrock estate, near Bodmin. Here 4.5 hectares of neutral grassland will be turned into species-rich meadow, providing benefits for local wildlife and a spectacle for the many visitors to the property in years to come.
Seed has been collected from healthy, already species-rich ‘donor’ meadows across the county, including through partnerships with Natural England, Cornwall Council, Meadow Match, private landowners and the National Wildflower Centre, and will be spread at Natural Trust sites throughout Cornwall.
Fern Carroll-Smith, project officer for the National Trust, said: “This project is a real collaborative effort, with sites across Cornwall providing the seed that’ll create new, flourishing grassland to benefit both wildlife and people.
“At Lanhydrock, we should see the early establishment of yellow rattle, knapweed and oxeye daisy in the next year or two and, in future, we hope to have species such as eyebright, betony, and eventually, orchids.”
Most of the sites set to benefit from the new grassland are coastal, with a small handful, such as Lanhydrock, further inland. Other locations include Pentire (near Wadebridge), Botallack, Gunwalloe and the Roseland as well as many others.
Those wishing to support the Trust’s nature recovery work can donate via the website: www.nationaltrust.org.uk/support-us/appeals/everyone-needs-nature-appeal