Save our Magnificent Meadows

Save our Magnificent Meadows is the UK's largest partnership project transforming the fortunes of our vanishing wildflower meadows, grasslands and wildlife. Led by Plantlife, the partnership is made up of 11 organisations, including Northumberland Wildlife Trust, and is primarily funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Save our Magnificent Meadows is:

  • Targeting just under 6,000 hectares of wildflower meadows and grasslands in nine strategic landscapes across the UK, including areas of calaminarian and whin grassland around the Tyne catchment. NWT is currently working on four calaminarian sites and five whin grassland sites.
  • Giving people all over the UK the chance to visit, enjoy and learn about our wildflower meadows and grasslands.
  • Raising awareness of the desperate plight of our wildflower meadows and grasslands and equipping communities with the knowledge and skills to reverse this devastating trend.

The areas of calaminarian grassland along the South Tyne are largely threatened by scrub encroachment and the deepening of the (non-contaminated) soil humus layer. In order to redress these problems, and to ensure the long-term survival of the dune helleborine populations that inhabit the birch woodlands on the shingles, we are carrying out soil stripping, scrub clearance and woodland thinning. Because calaminarian grassland have been heavily influenced by man, indeed these areas are largely a result of metal ore mining 150-200 years ago, we are also running a series of events to involve people in the history of the sites as well as the ecology.

It is a similar case for the whin grasslands along the Great Whin Sill, where scrub and rank grass encroachment is squeezing the extent of some of our rarer flowers such as wild chive and annual knawel. We are removing areas of deeper soils from whin rock outcrops and replanting some of the lost species in the whin crags. In addition, we are running bioblitz events, surveys and habitat management courses.

If people have any stories about the whin or mining along the South Tyne, please contact Naomi Waite, Project Officer.

We  are also running a series of workshops, training days, volunteer opportunities and events as part of our project. Keep an eye on our website and Facebook for more information for when these will be held, and visit the Save our Magnificent Meadows website and Plantlife website for more information.

Northumberland Wildlife Trust has recently launched its own locally produced wool from its very own conservation flock. The wool, a celebration of the wonderful products this region gets from its grasslands, has been spun from the fleeces of 40 of the wildlife charity’s ‘Flexigraze’ rare breeds of sheep which include hebridean, manx loaghtan, shetland and swaledale. Priced at £5.00, the 50grm balls are now available from Northumberland Wildlife Trust’s headquarters in St Nicholas Park, Gosforth, Newcastle, Northumberlandia (Fisher Lane, Cramlington) and the Trust’s online shop.

Click here to read a summary of Magnificent Meadows activity up to the end of year two.


Northern Grasslands Conference Resources

Management Guides

Calaminarian Grassland Management Guide
Whin Grassland Management Guide


Janet Simkin - The Sill green roof
John O'Reilly - Palace Leas mosses
John Richards - Magnificent Meadows
Rebecca Barrett - High Nature Value farming
Ruth Starr-Keddle - Using volunteers to assess our most flower-rich habitats
Shaun Hackett - Waxcap Grassland Jewels
Stephen Comber - Flexigraze